WI Newsletter – March 2012

It is the last day of March as I sit and reflect on this month’s activities and what a whirlwind of a month it has been. We have been walking, lunching, visiting Portsmouth Guildhall where the afternoon speaker was Libby Purves, the novelist and broadcaster, heard about fine cell work at the Danebury Group Spring meeting and had Florence Nightingale’s life story brought to life. For those not still tied to the routine of the working week there was also the coffee morning, this month hosted by Helen Stuart. Oh and I nearly forgot we also travelled to Mayflower Theatre to see the musical Sister Act.

At our meeting this month members were offered the opportunity to tour Trinley Estate on the 9th May, visit Chichester and Goodwood House in August, Walk the World on 29th April (not literally of course) as well as the chance to serve coffee at the Fete’s Plant Sale on 19th May and make the tea for the Jubilee Celebrations in June.

It is essential that members bring their diaries to meetings otherwise it can result in being in two places at the same time, never easy.

Chester productions are booked up months, and even years in advance, and we had waited a long time to see Vera Hughes and David Weller on stage and they did not disappoint. They were present to tell us the story of Florence Nightingale. Vera naturally played the title role and David portrayed her cousin and friend Henry Bonham Carter. In less than an hour they managed to tell us all we needed to know in such an absorbing way, each of us will take something different home with us. For me it was the fact the Beckhams were not original in naming their first born Brooklyn (much speculation at the time that this was where he was conceived) as in 1820 Mr & Mrs Nightingale named their daughter after her city of birth in Florence, Italy.

For me the other point of resonance was nearer to home. Many of us will have visited Broadlands, which is now associated with the Mountbatten family and Wilton House the home of the Earl of Pembroke, but for the Nightingale family then living at Embley Park, these were the homes of their friends Lord Palmerston and Sidney Herbert. These two men went on to become Prime Minister and Secretary of War. After her experiences in the Crimea War Florence dedicated her life to public health reform and she was not afraid to use her connections in high places.

When she eventually died in 1910 at the age of 90 her last wish was to be buried in the Churchyard at East Wellow not far from her beloved Embley Park near Romsey and now, of course, a school.

Sadly we have recently lost a long time member and former President, Paula Payne and a minute’s silence was held in her memory at the start of this month’s meeting

If anyone is interested in joining us on 9th May for our farm visit at 6 p.m. then please do get in touch with me (01264 335630) – Trinley Estate is heavily involved in protecting ad establishing new wildlife habitats and Andrew Hughes is a BBC Farmer of the Year.

Likewise if you would like to come on our visit to Chichester and Goodwood House on 8th August just give me a ring for more information (but don’t forget I may be out with the W.I. – so just leave a message and I will get back to you! Alternatively send me an email: sharonk.king@ic24.net).

Next month’s meeting will be organised by Sue Hancock, all I can tell you is that she has persuaded a friend and neighbour to be our guest speaker on 26th April at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

Diary Dates:

03 April – Reading Group

14 April – Walking Group

17 April – Coffee Morning

26 April – Members’ Meeting 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall – To be revealed

28 April – Lunch Club

29 April – ACWW – Women Walk the World (ask and you will be enlightened).

Sharon King