WI Newsletter – June 2006

The month began with a specially arranged evening walk on the unique Porton Down which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, as this area of chalk downland has never been treated with chemicals or fertilizers. Unfortunately, we did not see any butterflies and very few birds, but we were privileged to see a Lady Orchid. Porton is one of just three places in the country where this rare orchid grows. Stone Curlews are being encouraged to return to the downs, by the ploughing of three selected areas, this will allow them to nest and numbers are increasing each year. Our members thoroughly enjoyed their walk around this rarely seen part of the English countryside.

We finished the month as we began, by being outside for our June meeting; this time in the lovely garden of our secretary, Sheila Lockhart. Members were able to enjoy a leisurely wander around on this lovely warm, calm and sunny evening, before the meringue, strawberries and cream supper that followed.

Earlier in evening, however, our members, visitors and guests had been brought up-to-date on all WI news and gratitude was expressed to all those who had helped with the cream teas at the open gardens afternoon in the Village. Despite the disappointing wet conditions, business did pick-up as the afternoon progressed. Thanks were also given to all the ladies who had turned out on a very hot Saturday morning to help tidy-up the village hall borders, their efforts are much appreciated.

A report on the AGM in Cardiff was given by Jenny Llewellyn of Upper Clatford who had been our delegate. Of the several speakers appearing that day, she mentioned the Marks and Spencer representative who spoke of the constant efforts of the Company to keep their foods as healthy as possible, but for her it was Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, who stood out at this meeting. She felt he, or possibly one of his researchers had certainly done their homework and seemed to be aware of what the WI was up to, and rather unusually, he was a politician who actually answered the question!

The Resolutions had received resounding support – 95% for Renewable Energy and 97% for Sport for a Healthy Population. Jenny also felt that our new Chair, Fay Mansell, had done an excellent job in chairing this her first AGM, although she was professional in her handling of the proceedings, she also gave the meeting a touch of informality, which made for a friendly atmosphere.

We have made more progress along the Test Way, this time from St Mary Bourne to Longparish – if nothing else we are certainly getting to know the pubs along the route. Seriously, the scenery changes with each section, but it just reinforces how lucky we are to live in such a lovely part of England.

The fete will soon be upon us and as always the WI will be organising the teas and plans have begun in earnest. If anyone reading this newsletter would like to contribute by making a cake, then this would be gratefully received. Please get in touch and we can let you know delivery/collection details. All our contact details are on our pages on this website.

Forthcoming Events:

05 July: Visit to Osborne House & the Isle of Wight

27 July: – Themed Evening – Childhood Recollections

03 August – Informal “Committee” brainstorming meeting – 7.30 p.m. at the Eagle – see below

02 September: – Village Fete: WI Teas

28 September – Animal Training & the Media

Our next meeting on the 27 July is our themed evening and this year has the title, Childhood Recollections, some members will be giving us a glimpse of their formative years and we have a few surprises in store to keep the evening rolling along.

We do welcome visitors, so please come along; or if you would prefer to meet us on an informal basis, then some of us are going to be in the Eagle on 03 August at 7.30 p.m. for a brainstorming session. However, we would be delighted to meet anyone who is a little unsure about us, but would like just to have a chat and see what we are about – you may be surprised.

Sharon King