WI Newsletter – July 2006

We might have known – our trip to the Isle of Wight had been plagued with setbacks – here we were enjoying (some would say enduring) a long hot dry summer, so of course when 5th July dawned, we woke to a thunderstorm and heavy rain.

The original ferry time was put back by an hour, as a vessel was taken out of service – just for that one day; we learnt later that it was to fit a new coffee machine! However, by the time we arrived on the island around noon the weather had improved, the rain had stopped and we even had some watery sunshine. Keen to fit in as much as possible, we all went our separate ways; there is a lot to do and see. As well as Osborne House itself, there are lovely grounds and gardens as well as the shop and restaurants. The setting is superb and it is easy to see why it was such a favourite with Queen Victoria and her family.

Unfortunately, just as our visit was nearing its end, the heavens opened again as everyone rushed back to the coach. Having travelled across to the island from Southampton to Cowes, the plan had been for a more scenic drive to Yarmouth for our return trip across the Solent to Lymington. But once again this was thwarted. Partly due to the weather and partly because of restrictions which apply to coaches and the type of roads they are allowed to travel on. However, once back on the main land we were treated to a scenic journey through the back roads of the New Forest. Despite these setbacks, we all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

A few days later, we were back in our walking boots as once again we put our best foot forward and carried on with our progress along the Test Way. This time we were doing the particularly scenic stretch, from Hurstbourne Tarrant to St Mary Bourne. Yes, naturally we finished with a pub lunch.

For the third year running, our July meeting was a themed evening, this time childhood was the topic. Several members kindly shared their varied memories. One member had been raised in Brooklyn, New York, the education system being very different from here. Another member, whose mother did not consider an education very important for a girl, had moved her to many different schools; virtually at the drop of a hat – one being a brown school beret loved by the daughter but loathed by the mother. By the time she reached her teens, it was decided to send her to Switzerland to learn a foreign language. It transpired that very little French or Italian was learnt, but she did have a jolly good time!

Possibly, the most unusual story was from one member who at about ten years old was the only Russian child at an English school in Hong Kong. At the time, she didn’t speak English, but was befriended by another pupil from Portuguese Macao who did. This friend taught her the hymn “Immortal, invisible” in English so that she could join in the singing in Assembly and the words, in Portuguese, of the Portuguese National Anthem. Little did she think that many years later the little Russian girl would sing along with the Portuguese Football Team when they sang their Anthem at the televising of the World Cup in 2006!

All these reminisces were linked by topical questions – such as “what did you spend your pocket money on?” – “what was your worst subject at school?” – which in turn provoked further spontaneous anecdotes.

Being a very warm evening, the members were delighted to be given glasses of refreshing old-fashioned cloudy lemonade, as well as dipping into bowls of assorted sweets, such as dolly mixtures and jelly babies, not to mention the love hearts and liquorice. This was all completed, with a supper of fish paste or egg sandwiches, butterfly cakes and chocolate covered rice crispy cakes, followed by fruit filled jelly and evaporated milk. I think this can, once again, be voted a successful evening.

Forthcoming Events:

02 September: – Village Fete: WI Teas

28 September – Animal Training & the Media -7.30 p.m. Village Hall

15 October – Treasure Hunt – Open to family and friends as well as members

16 October – Danebury Group Autumn Meeting – Upper Clatford

25 October – HCFWI Autumn Council Meeting – The Anvil, Basingstoke

26 October – Members’ Meeting – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall

Whilst we do not have a meeting in August, some of us will be meeting in the pub to have a “brain storming” session – to come up with some ideas on how to celebrate our 90th anniversary next year.

We will of course be putting a lot of hard work into organising the teas at the Village Fete – this doesn’t just happen – it all has to be planned so that on the day it looks so effortless. However, I can assure you that we are usually shattered by the end of the afternoon. If this has inspired anyone reading this newsletter to make a cake for us – we would be most grateful. Please bring along any contributions to the pavilion on the sportsfield on 02 September – anytime after 11 a.m. Thank you.

Sharon King