WI Newsletter – November 2012

The latest exploits of James Bond, getting caught up in the middle of a shoot, eating out and listening to the experiences of a female Prison Officer – just a month in the life of an Abbotts Ann W.I. member.

It was a chore having to go and watch Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond movie, but as they say someone has to do it! Forming a Film Club was the idea of Kate Bennett and it has proved to be a popular idea, despite being made to jump more than once as the action unfolded. Our walking group had a lovely walk this month starting at the Crown in Upton and yes we did have to make a detour to take account of aforesaid shoot, but this did not spoil our day in the country or our lunch.

The Plough at Grateley was the venue for the Lunch Club this month, and although we did have a bit of wait for our food, we did enjoy it once it arrived and there is always plenty to talk about – conversation is never a problem when our members get together. Our Supper Club tried out the Black Swan in Monxton where we were given a room to ourselves, did our reputation go before us – our volume does appear to be quite high on these occasions. Nevertheless, we were made to feel very welcome and hope to return in 2013.

At the end of the month we all made our way as usual to the village hall where President Sue George kept us informed of all that is happening in the world of the W.I. – we touched on the future of Denman College, chatted about a possible craft day next year, heard the good news of funds from the fete committee and put more dates in our diaries. Margaret Butt shared with us her very enjoyable stay at Denman College earlier this year – Margaret opted to do water colours for beginners and enjoyed it so much she is hoping to find something locally to build on this experience.

Sue then introduced us to our speaker Gina Ireland who had taken the unorthodox step of joining the Prison Service in her mid-forties. As her youngest children, twin daughters, were in their teens she felt it was the right time to look at returning to work, something with prospects perhaps and this appealed to her. Once she qualified and passed a fitness test, she was asked if she would like to take part in a new experiment – female officers serving in a male prison. As this meant working in her home city of Winchester she jumped at the chance. She told us that her duties did not just involve walking around with a large bunch of keys opening and closing doors; during her years of service she escorted prisoners to and from Court, transferred them (by coach and not the armoured vehicles of today) to other parts of the country and once persuaded rioters to come down from the roof. She was on the receiving end of a few practical jokes and had to persuade her male colleagues that any mistakes along the way were not down to her being a woman, just a normal fallible human being. She stayed beyond the then statutory retirement age, latterly concentrating on the probation side, ensuring that prisoners received help before being released. In a question and answer session she assured us she received equal pay.

Our President has promised us an evening of fun on 13th December – what does she know that we don’t? Members have each been asked to bring a plate of food, which if last year is anything to go by means that we will no doubt be enjoying a feast, having first built up an appetite with some festive fun. Tempted to come along?

Diary Dates:

06 December – Film Club

08 December – Walking Group

11 December – Coffee Morning

12 December – Reading Group

13 December – Meeting in the Village Hall – Festive food and fun!

Sharon King