WI Newsletter – June 2011

Is there a better place to be than a beautiful country garden on a balmy English summer’s evening? Our members certainly didn’t think so as they enjoyed the hospitality of Patricia Elkington, who had spoken at our February meeting of Humour in the Garden. Patricia has a large garden in Crawley near Winchester, which opens on certain dates as part of the National Garden Scheme (the famous yellow book) and has extensive views over the surrounding landscape, including Farley Mount. Her herbaceous borders are wide and deeply planted with stunning combinations of colours and plants. However, this doesn’t happen by magic and undoubtedly a lot of hard work is required to produce such results.

4,587 women attended the NFWI AGM in Liverpool and two of our members, Sharon King & Gill Page, were among them. They heard various report and listened to a variety of guest speakers including Sir Steve Redgrave, Dr Rita Gardner CBE, Director of the National Geographical Society, and Erwin James a journalist with the Guardian Newspaper and former prisoner. There were two Resolutions to be voted upon and the first one requesting continued support from the Government for libraries was passed with an overwhelming majorly. However, as the majority of the adult population do not use libraries on a regular basis there were a few alternative models suggested in order to adapt to changing times.

The second one entitled Mega Farming was to prove far livelier. The proposer gave her arguments against intensive farming, supported by Helen Browning of the Soil Association, but the President of the NFU argued against it. Delegates (including me) found it all very perplexing and one brave lady proposed that delegates should not vote. After much discussion a new proposal was made to move to the next item on the agenda – an almost audible sigh of relief from the floor as the majority of delegates raised their hands in favour. Therefore there is no mandate for the W.I. to campaign actively on this issue. However, in the words of our National chair, Ruth Bond “”what it does mean is that the whole area of factory farming, mega farms, environment and animal welfare, not to mention future food security, is now on the nation’s agenda.”

Our other monthly activities took place as usual and a team of six took part in the first round of Hampshire Federation’s annual quiz; however it would seem that they had been eating a fish-free diet as it was not their night, although only a few points separated the winning and losing teams.

Five of our members were walking the streets of Andover at midnight this month. They were taking part in the second event of this kind to raise funds for the Countess of Brecknock Hospice. Our president’s daughter also joined us which brought our average age down quite a bit! Once again the pace was brisk and they completed their six and half miles in less than two hour.

Next month’s meeting on 28th July will be a beetle drive followed by supper and naturally starts at 7.30 p.m. and will be back in the Village Hall. If this appeals, then please come and join us.

Diary Dates:

09 July – Walking Group

12 July – Designer Day at Denman College

20 July – Coffee Morning

28 July – Beetle Drive & Supper

30 July – Lunch Club

03 August – Outing to Tyntesfield (National Trust property – a few seats left on the coach, if you wish to join us then please give Sharon King a ring 01264 335630)

13 August – Reading Group

Sharon King