WI Newsletter – July 2003

Gosh what have we been up to in July? We have just had a very successful open meeting – as explained in our June newsletter, an open meeting is when invitations are sent to neighbouring Institutes for a specific meeting, although anyone is welcome to come along at any time. Not having hosted one for a while, we were determined to make a special effort this year.

Our speaker for evening was a return visit by Heather Riley who had us in stitches a few years ago with her readings, so we knew we were on safe ground and she didn’t disappoint. Approximately 60 women heard Mrs Riley give a spirited performance, reading from favourite pieces of literature including an extract from Three Men and a Boat, detailing the author’s belief that he suffered from every ailment known to man, except for housemaid’s knee! Amongst others, were amusing pieces by Alan Coren and Joyce Grenfell. However, once again her piece de resistance was her closing plea to save a well-known British custom, the Jumble Sale which is in danger of being superseded by the Car Boot Sale. Although she had made a similar plea on her first visit, it was still just as amusing.

How we laughed as she gave an all too familiar scenario of this very British ritual, the going into the unknown, commonly called the attic, not being able to find the box of jumble we know is up there, the decision to finally part with those odds and ends that we do find, hidden amongst the many off-cuts of long discarded carpet, which we believe just might come in useful one day. Then there is the startling realisation at the end of the sale, when you appear to have as much jumble left as when you started, piled high in those ubiquitous black plastic sacks, even though you would swear you had sold every last item. Finally, when you get home and return to the loft to store your own, not so very useful, purchases, the first thing you fall over is that very box of jumble you couldn’t find in the first place! Oh, how so very true.

A few days before this, on Sunday 27th July four of us joined Andover Afternoon WI on their trip to Uppark House in East Sussex. It was a most enjoyable day, the sun shone and the setting was so peaceful with glorious views across the countryside to the coast. This is the property that was very badly damaged by fire in August 1989 having just been restored and has been re-open to the public since 1995 following a further period of complete restoration. We had a very pleasant, relaxing time.
Now a plea for help. For as long as any of us can remember we have had a banner (see photograph), which now needs some repair/restoration, but we have been unable to trace any record of it from our Institute Minutes etc.

We have asked both former and long-standing members, but no-one can remember who made it or when it was stitched. So, if there is anybody out there who knows anything we would very much like to hear from you – perhaps a relative used to be a member of the WI and you have some photographs or such like.

If you have any information I would be very pleased to hear from you, as we would like to make sure that any refurbishment does not alter its historical significance, if indeed it is as old as we think it might be. My contact details are Tel: 01264 335630 or email sharonk.king@ic24.net.

We do not have a meeting in August, but are going to Arundel Castle on the 7th and we are already making plans for September activities, read more about these in next month’s newsletter.

Sharon King