WI Newsletter – October 2005

This month has seen us visit Clarence House, the London home of the Prince of Wales and new his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, walk along part of the Test Way, attend the Danebury Group Meeting at Grateley, meet for lunch at the Bell in Weyhill, play skittles, attend the HCFWI Autumn Council Meeting in Winchester; oh and yes meet up in the Village Hall for own monthly meeting of course.

Having booked our tickets for Clarence House back in January, at last Saturday 1st October arrived and a full coach of 50 – we were joined on this occasion by members of other local Institutes as well as family and friends – set off from Abbotts Ann arriving in St James in London in good time. Before our guided tour later in the afternoon, we had some free time, so we all went in different directions. Some to the Cabinet War Rooms and the Winston Churchill Museum; others took the opportunity to visit the Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews or some just went shopping, retail therapy being thoroughly recommended. Some of us even found time to have tea in Fortnum & Mason.

Eventually, we gathered in The Mall for a delightful tour of the ground floor of this royal residence, the former home of the late Queen Mother. It has recently been refurbished for its new occupants, although it is on a grand scale, we all felt it had a very homely feel. A very enjoyable day.

The following day Sue Hancock and I packed the aqua box supplied by the Rotary Club of Andover, which our members kindly filled with all the equipment necessary for the victims of a natural disaster, whatever and wherever this may be. It has probably already been transported to Kashmir, the site of the recent devastating earthquake.

Just a few days later several of our members gathered for an informal lunch at the Bell in Weyhill. This is a chance to catch up and have a good chat.

Then on 15 October, we stepped out again, as on with our walking boots, five of us continued with our progress along the Test Way. This time we were to stride, well o.k. stroll, the six miles from Totton to Romsey, Christine Fell, who has co-ordinated all our walks for us, told us she had done this stretch before, when it had taken her two hours.

Some three hours later, on it has to be said a beautiful sunny day, we arrived in Romsey only to find a signpost revealing that Totton was in fact 8.5 miles distant. Never mind, we had a lovely time and returned to Totton for a great value-for-money lunch. Later the same day, some of us even managed to find the energy to participate in the Village Hall Skittles Competition.

Those of us attending the Danebury Group meeting at Grateley enjoyed a social evening as, unfortunately, the speaker had cancelled at the last minute. There was a slightly more relaxed feel to the proceedings; more time was given to the “business” part of the evening, which was followed by excellent refreshments that included a cake and toast to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. This can be a little confusing. The first WI was formed in Wales in 1915, hence the WI as an organisation is 90, but each Institute has its own formation date. We here in Abbotts Ann started in 1917, much to the consternation of the male population, who were not at all happy that their womenfolk were going out without them – so we will be celebrating our own 90th anniversary in 2007

The evening finished with a quiz – with two members from Abbotts Ann on the winning table, Rachael Carter and me.

For our own meeting, unfortunately, we had to start the evening with a minute’s silence in memory of June Scarborough who had died on 01 October. June did enjoy her WI, serving not only on our Committee for many years, but also as Danebury Group Treasurer for sometime.

The good news, however, is that we have welcomed three new members to our Institute this month, we are delighted and hope they will be very happy and get involved in our activities.

Members were kept informed with news and events including plans for our Christmas Dinner on 08 December and our Pamper Day on 04 February 2006.

Our speaker for the evening was Stuart Corbett who is the Conservation Officer at Porton Down; he obviously enjoys his job enormously. Whilst his presentation concentrated on the landscape of Porton Down, especially their work to preserve the Juniper tree, he also showed some beautiful photographs of the varied wildlife over there, including badger, skylark and stone curlew.

The month ended when four of us from Abbotts Ann attended Hampshire Federation’s Autumn Council Meeting at the Guildhall in Winchester, where as well as being kept up to date with WI news both nationally and locally we were entertained by James Taylor telling us about the life and loves of Horatio Nelson. Obviously, this was to coincide with 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Coming Up:

02 November – Danebury Group round of Federation Skittles Competition

24 November – Annual Meeting – 7.30 p.m. Village Hall

08 December – Christmas Party – 7 p.m. Village Hall

Next month is our Annual Meeting, when as well as reflecting on the events of 2005, we will be looking forward to next year, as we will be forming our Committee for 2006.

Sharon King