WI Newsletter – March 2004

No snow prior to this month’s meeting -just rain. However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of our members. I can now reveal that our membership has increased from 34 to 40 in three months, which is very encouraging and we are delighted that we are following a National trend. It would appear that the film Calendar Girls has resulted in an increased awareness of our organisation, all we have to do now is keep them.

If laughter helps to keep them coming, then we were onto a winner with this month’s speaker, Marian Emery. You Cannot Possibly Miss It! These are words that strike dread into every motorist’s heart when being given directions and Mrs Emery is no exception. She explained to us in her own very amusing way, how local organisations forget that she is a stranger to their town/village and that she is often arriving in the dark, usually in the rain, in places with no street lighting and it is very easy to “miss it”. One example she gave, was that she had been instructed to turn right at the village pond, despite driving up and down and eventually finding the Hall, she never did discover the pond!

She gave many illustrations as to the variety of the meetings she is invited to speak at and gave affectionate impersonations of various chairman/presidents so much that this president began to be afraid to open her mouth. However, she emphasised how much she enjoyed this phase of her life and that she loved meeting new people and going to new places and there were very few venues she would not return to, we can only hope that Abbotts Ann is not one of them.

Earlier in the evening the members were told the good news that Abbotts Ann have won a place in the finals of the Federation Skittles Competition by wining their semi-final by 11 skittles. So that they can have some practice there is an informal evening arranged for Friday 07 May 2004 at 7 p.m. in the skittle alley at the Eagle. Friends and family are welcome; to cover costs there is a charge of £2 per head.

Everyone helping with the recent Danebury Group meeting was thanked, keeping up our usual high standards we put on a splendid tea and received many compliments. The speaker on this occasion was Betty Fuller who is a tutor on Drama and once again, this was an evening of much laughter. Audience participation was the order of the day as we were all encouraged to use our imaginations to conjure up various dramatic situations. If ever an evening dispelled the “stuffy image” of the WI this was certainly one of them.

I was able, with some relief, to advise that all forms had now been completed in relation to the National Needlework Database organised by the WI, this has meant some research amongst our members to record all we know about the four items we own, including our Banner which dates back to the 1920s. Now that all this paperwork has been completed, we can now proceed with our intention to get this restored/repaired. We are now waiting with some trepidation for a quote for this work, but are in the fortunate position of having been allocated funds from last year’s fete.

Five of our members had attended the recent Spring Council Meeting in Portsmouth, where the two speakers were the well-known artist David Shepherd and Deborah Jaffe, who spoke about women of invention – this revealed how resourceful we women can be. The results of the Federation’s Programme Competition were also announced, we were somewhat disappointed not to have been placed, but this just challenges us to do better next year.

Next month is our members meeting, when the committee get a rest. This year, the meeting is being organised by Julia Jenkins. I am unable to reveal who our speaker is, as I don’t know. However, we are definitely looking forward to, what I am sure, will be an enjoyable evening.

Have we inspired you to come along and see for yourself? If so, we’ll next be in the Village Hall on 29 April at 7.30 p.m. or, if you would prefer get in touch first. Our contact details can be found on our committee page on this website.

Sharon King