WI Newsletter – March 2010

We were certainly hoping for a touch of spring at this month’s meeting, but what we actually got, in the nicest possible way, was a veritable whirlwind in the form of Roger Savage from Choice Plants near Romsey.

Roger had come to demonstrate the art of planting a hanging basket, and as his nursery is expecting to supply approximately 7,500 in the coming weeks, he is well qualified to share his expertise. From the moment he stood up, he had our attention and very soon had us laughing. Apparently, we are too fussy, from the placing of our plants, our colour schemes, pre-occupation with numbers and also to the flattening of our compost. We should be less inhibited and go with the flow, letting our compost settle naturally and be prepared to have a multitude of colours and plants. Our members were certainly queuing up to purchase more raffle tickets, once they saw that the two containers Roger planted during the evening had been donated as prizes. The two lucky members were Judy Wickham & Helen Stuart.

Spring sunshine was the order of the day as we ambled slowly away from Stonehenge on our monthly walk. We saw young lambs, heard noisy rooks high in the trees and could see a tractor going back and forth in a distant field – it was the archetypical English countryside scene, we felt privileged and lucky to be able to enjoy such a treat.

Several of us attended both the Danebury Group & Hampshire Federation Spring Meetings, the latter taking place in Portsmouth Guildhall. During the morning session, we heard from our Federation Chairman, Lynn Andrews, representatives of the various sub-committees and Jean Johnson who is still campaigning on the Hampshire Resolution calling for the licensing of brothels. She spoke of her invitation to address the Oxford Union to debate this subject, where she and Lynn were delighted to find that the female undergraduates felt they had much more in common with the ideals and aims of the WI than they realised.

The final speaker in the morning was our National Chair, Ruth Bond, who spoke of her recent trip to Malawi at the invitation of Oxfam. She was there to witness the plight of women as they coped with the consequences of HIV & AIDS, non-existence road and transport and the effects all this had on pregnancy and childbirth. Despite the high mortality rate of both babies and mothers, Ruth did not come away with despair, but hope, and her message to us was that a day can make a difference.

After a break for lunch, we returned to hear from Sir Bernard Ingham, former Press Secretary to Margaret Thatcher. He brought some light relief to the proceedings, as he shared with us amusing anecdotes from his time at No. 10.

At this point in this newsletter, there is usually a snippet of what is planned for our next meeting, but Helen Stuart who is organising next month’s members’ meeting, is keeping the identity of the guest speaker as a surprise. This is an opportunity for the committee to sit back and relax whilst the members do all the work, but you will still be welcome at the Village Hall on 29th April at 7.30 p.m.

P.S. We have a coach going to Windsor Castle on August 04th – if you would like to come with us then please give Sharon King a ring on 01264 335630 for more details.

Diary Dates:


06 April – Book Club (Teacher Teacher : Jack Sheffield)

10 April – Walking Group

13 April – Coffee Morning

29 April – Meeting Village Hall 7.30 p.m. – Members’ Meeting

08 May – Walking Group

15 May – Visit to Arundells in Salisbury

18 May – Book Club (Marshmallows for Breakfast – Dorothy Koomson)

20 May – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – Hairspray

27 May – Meeting Village Hall 7.30 p.m. – Resolution (food labelling).

Sharon King