farndon and District WI
Meeting Held Via Zoom on Tuesday 30th June 202
“How to look younger coming out of lockdown” with Sally Inkster
In less than 60 minutes, and using a mixture of information and audience participation, Sally guided us into a new world of knowing what clothes we have and how to choose the clothes (and hairstyle) that suit us. All you need is to get the colours right (and google)! Since there are many years of shopping trips nearly folded in the wardrobe(s), we probably don’t need to buy anything new. A swift summary of the Marie Kondo Method gave us the tools to declutter our wardrobe: put all – yes all – your clothes on the bed (so you have to finish before you go to bed), switch off the phone / radio / music / family, and make 3 piles – don’t really like, really like, and sentimental value. Chuck out the ‘don’t likes’, keep the ‘do likes’ and cherish the sentimentals for their lovely service and time and say goodbye! Not loved necessarily but essential? Keep. With half the clothes gone there is now space in the wardrobe as well as the brain. Next up? Think on the difference between ‘that jumper looks nice’ (= compliment to the jumper) and ‘have you been on holiday?” (= you are looking glowing / younger / happier)? Take the second as the best compliment because it suggests that the colours we are wearing are the ones that makes us look younger by reflecting the light out and removing wrinkles and bags! It seems that hair colour and skin tone changes over the years (who knew!?) and part of looking younger is adapting (our colouring) to how we are now. Next up was an interactive Zoom session as Sally led us through a checklist of eye colour (I was the only one who didn’t know hers!), skin tone and hair colour to match ourselves to a ‘season’. Assessing hair colour was very tricky: should we go with lockdown colour i.e. the real thing or the colour we aspire to be i.e. the colour we will be when we get back to the hairdresser (in my case I have always been the ‘real thing’ i.e. more and more salt than pepper)? Sally helped each one of us using the close-up picture facility on Zoom to finalise our selection so I now know I am Clear Winter … I think). Googling our ‘season’ gives us a colour chart for the tone of colour (e.g. pastel pink or fuchsia pink) we should go for to complement our hair and skin tone. And voila! Refreshed, Reinvigorated and Ready for going out without going out to Cheshire Oaks!
Meeting held on Zoom on Tuesday 26th May 2020
‘Save our planet’ by Sue Bentley and Fiona Barry
The choice of this month’s speakers seems even more pertinent as we navigate a world affected by Covid-19 aka coronavirus, a global pandemic that has changed the way we lead our lives now and for the future. In their role as NFWI Climate Ambassadors Sue and Fiona, both members of local WIs, agreed to hosting their (and our) first ever Zoom online talk, speaking clearly and ardently about the impact that we as mankind and as individuals have on our environment, finishing with some positive thoughts for positive action.
Sue (bad cop) defined climate change for us as “any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time” (30 years) and went on to outline the indicators (a Exocet-like rise in the earth’s temperature since 1950s) and the three main culprits (fossil fuels, fossil fuel powered transport and deforestation). The future is black – unless we do something.
Fiona (good cop) explored a variety of ideas for practical and positive actions that we can all take to tackle the problem i.e. to reduce our carbon footprint:
1) Raise awareness locally
2) Share our ‘green’ ideas
3) Make a pledge (see link) to do one thing to reduce our own carbon footprint https://fightclimatechange.org.uk/pledge/
The WI is a force for change and plays “a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities” (mywi.org.uk) and as Jane Goodall reminds us:
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make”
We finished off with a Quick Photo Quiz by our quiz master Carole – a fantastic record of all the times we have enjoyed social outings and evenings and challenges TOGETHER! Something we look forward to being able to do again.
Tuesday 28thApril 2020
April meeting – ZOOM quiz
Government measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus (AKA Corona Virus) continue.
So our tech expert Sam set us up to use Zoom, software that enables groups to meet and talk and see each other on their computers / tablets / smart phones. Sam (tech member), Carole (Treasurer) compiled and hosted a quiz for us (with input from our WI advisor Cath Stone who gave us the idea + some questions!).
A good start to our on digital presence - 23 members successfully took part and everyone was a winner (for working out to take part if nothing else!). We shared a peek into each other’s homes and another new experience courtesy the WI and the world. Onwards and upwards with digital literacy!
March Meeting - Cancelled
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 25th February 2020
Maureen Thompson JP ‘Sitting on the bench’
Maureen, former Bench Chairman of Wirral Magistrates Court and founder and Chairman of the charity ‘Tomorrow’s Women Wirral’ came to introduce us to life as a Justice of the Peace. Maureen took us on a whistle-stop jog through a brief history of law and legal frameworks in our country using the time-honoured tool of the timeline to keep us grounded – and to keep herself grounded as she digressed into many and various anecdotes of her own experiences of the law in action in the courts of the Wirral. As a former headteacher, Maureen demonstrated her skills at retaining the attention of a jolly crowd of WI friends by her simultaneous use of time-honoured tools of bribery and corruption to encourage us to come up with our own answers and consolidate our learning (chocolates). There have been Justices of the Peace since 1361, and since 1920 it has been possible to nominate a woman to serve on the bench (so named because JPs used to sit on a bench) – they now represent 40% of JPs. Maureen evidently found her time as JP both informative and enjoyable despite, inevitably, the trauma that some of the cases brought to her attention
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 28th January 2020
Sam Johnson of Blood Bikes (Shropshire – Staffordshire – Cheshire)
Sam Johnson, a former local ‘bobby’, joined us to explain the life-saving work undertaken by the charity Blood Bikes as its dedicated volunteers and huge Yamaha bikes transport blood and other life-saving fluids between hospitals. Blood Bikes is a charitable organisation whose contribution saves money for the NHS as well as lives. Founded in 1962 by Margaret Royston, her two aims were to improve the rather negative image of bikers in general (her son was a biker) and to provide a free service to the hospitals. Unlike other services, it does not charge the NHS and is entirely reliant upon donations. The Shropshire – Staffordshire – Cheshire branch is one of the younger branches, celebrating its 5th birthday in 2019 at one of its ‘local’ motorway services (the Raven) and growing from 10 members and 2 bikes in 2014 to 300 members and 15 bikes by 2019. As well as blood the charity transports samples, platelets, medical notes, bone marrow and donations of breast milk for prem babies who would not survive without it, and faecal matter for people with compromised immune systems for whom this – er – substance is believe it or not the last hope with a strict limit of very urgent (within 3 hours) and very very urgent (within 2 hours). Shining through the entire evening was Sam’s enthusiasm for his work with Blood Bikes – he definitely enjoys being out on the bike and his admiration for the dedication, resourcefulness and resilience of people he helps. It was inspiring to hear about the many people that help others for no personal gain and often at times of or in memory of times of deep distress. In a world when we are constantly reminded how selfish and self-centred we have become this was very inspiring.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 26th November 2019
Open evening with Michael Leach
This month our members had the opportunity to invite guests to join us (for a small fee) and spend a social evening with us as well as enjoy the opportunity to enjoy our speaker Michael Leach’s wildlife photographs and amusing, hard-hitting and fact-filled presentations.
Speaker Michael Leach – full time wildlife author and photographer
This year Michael centred his presentation around polar bears. He began by summarising his background and route into wildlife photography. A professional naturalist, his work takes him all over the world photographing many animals and requiring not a little patience; every 2-3 seconds of film we see in those amazing BBC wildlife films takes on average 24 hours to collect. So that means a 45-minute programme takes…
As Michael stressed from the off, polar bears are NOT cute and cuddly. They are huge, they eat a lot and they do not fear people – although luckily they ignore them if they are not hungry. We learnt many things about the polar bear (what colour is a polar bear’s hair? – transparent) (what is their favourite pastime? – playing in the water) (do they hibernate? – no, but the mums do dig a hole, shelter in it and give birth and raise to large enough for the outside world their cubs) as well as discovering that in every other language they are known as Ice Bears. ‘Ice’ is crucial to their existence. They need ice to hunt and actually finish the winter sleek and fat. By the end of the summer however they are bordering on starvation. His talk was accompanied by the most fantastic photos of the bears in their natural arctic habitat, taken at close range and therefore considerable risk.
Our evening did end on a more sobering note and connected us to a developing concern for our particular WI: ‘climate change’. As the temperatures rise, the winter ice necessary to the bears’ hunting skills remains a distant memory for longer and polar bears cannot survive the increasing length of the starving summer months. We saw the incredible bears; we now need to protect our world for them and our own children.
AGM held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 29th October 2019
The business of the Annual General Meeting was preceded by a Hot pot supper.
No Tellers were appointed and the Committee was presented. Carole Shaw is stepping down from her role as Joint President with Kerry Evans. Val Moxley is stepping down as Treasurer. Carole Shaw is taking up the role of Treasurer. Kerry Evans opened the floor to nominations for election to President. Kerry Evans was elected as President.
President’s address – Kerry presented an informal address, praising members for their contributions to the success of our busy and friendly WI, reminding us that a continual refreshment of ideas is vital to the continuing vibrancy of the group.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 24th September 2019
September meeting– Speaker Mel Latham of Holly Cottage Preserves ‘Chutney and cheer’
Our speaker this month kept us royally entertained and informed as she regaled us with humorous anecdotes from the life and times of Mel Latham and Holly Cottage Preserves while she cooked up a gorgeous jar of cranberry plum chutney. Mel learnt her craft from her Grandmother and was inspired to make jams and chutneys when her Mother developed diabetes and was desperate for low sugar food that tasted even a little bit tasty! Mel surpassed herself and developed her range of over 900 delicious jams and chutneys, making the ‘fork in the road’ decision to develop her jam making business rather than pursue her studies and a career in crime and criminology. She continues to pass on the knowledge to the rest of us, now focusing on talks and presentations rather than selling. We shared our tips and she shared hers – now we know that with modern jam jar lids we no longer need the fiddling grease-proof and cellophane tops, cider vinegar means that people with coeliac disease can enjoy them, and a jam funnel ends the fight with boiling jugs and dripping spoons! As one of ‘ours’ enthusiastically reported, Mel “made chutney making easy”. What an enjoyable evening and how delicious were the chutneys and jams that she brought along for us to try! Figgin lemon jam anyone?
Tuesday 27th August 2019
August meeting social evening – a River Dee Boat Trip on the Mark Twain
Our August meeting this year took place on the Mark Twain, one of ChesterBoat sightseeing cruises. The boat and crew calmly drifted us along the banks of the Dee to the Iron Bridge at the Duke of Westminster’s Estate, giving us fantastic and rarely glimpsed views of both bridge and the amazing variety of houses built on the banks of the Dee. The boat was alive with friends talking, eating picnics and enjoying a glass of juice or wine. I am not sure how peaceful the river was as we drifted along it but we all had a lovely, relaxing evening catching up with friends and socialising with fellow WI-ers that we don’t always have a chance to chat to during the hectic of our meetings and our daily lives.
Here is a quote from our facebook entry:
Irene Mundy "The river from Huntington to Aldford is so beautiful and peaceful. Herons crossing over and some on board were lucky to see one with a fish in its beak. A lovely way to spend a late summer’s evening."
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 30 July 2019
Speaker Adrian Sumner ‘Decoding famous paintings’
Such a lot of information in such a short space of time! We will all look at paintings in a completely different way, and certainly give them more than a passing glance as we wander through the spaces where they hang! Artists used symbols and iconography in their works to send messages and humanise myths, to present world views and philosophies which, if displayed openly, might result in disaster or death. Adrian Sumner guided us through Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, Van Eyck’s ‘Ghent Altarpiece’, Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, Botticelli’s ‘Primavaera’ and a small group of other world-changing pictures to reveal the world of secret codes that lock the artworks into their own time and place in history, exploring with us the way that their artists or patrons used these works of art to engage with the polemical, philosophical and personal debates of their times – without immediately putting themselves in mortal danger from church or state.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 25 June 2019
This month Norma Walmsley, using a rich variety of personal anecdotes and photos, gave us a peek into the dazzling opulence of life in the small kingdom of Brunei, where she worked as private tutor to the children of the Sultan. Why have wooden stair rails when you can have gold? Why have an army tent for a child’s sleepover when at the drop of a phone call Harrods can fly in (+ 2 installers) a specially made marquee complete with flowers?
Within the very sheltered confines of the largest palace in the world, Norma created a small classroom and playground for the 4 children of the Sultan’s second wife. Norma is a qualified teacher specialising in children with special educational needs. She demonstrated her passion for ensuring that all children deserved and needed an education by quickly inviting the children’s 8 adopted siblings (the sultan’s second wife adopted 2 children for each of her own birth children) to join class, thereby helping to ensure that these children, despite the restrictions of living behind the physical and metaphorical walls of wealth, received an education to help prepare them for 21st century life. As well as an academic education, Norma managed to ensure that the children experienced some of the simple pleasures of childhood, such as working with peers and taking part in sleepovers. That said, as a teacher, she also appreciated the extraordinary luxury of being able to tailor lessons and experiences exactly to the children’s needs and interests; who else could invite a medical doctor to tutor the children in the workings of the body, or fly the children to a zoo to explore animal behaviour?
An extraordinary tale of life in luxury, Norma showed us a world vastly different from our own and perhaps provoked us to consider the advantages and disadvantages of life cocooned in such lavish surroundings.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 28 May 2019
Our speaker this month was Lynette Cox, a consultant archivist who has been working in Chester and Cheshire for over 25 years. What a fascinating insight into the whys and wherefores of preserving a variety of documents for ourselves and future generations. And yes, we did all feel contrite as we realised that our efforts to preserve our yellowing newspaper cuttings (just go online – duh!) or photographs (poly pockets L) were maybe … misguided! Using some of the items that we had brought along to the meeting, Lynette gave us a whistle stop guide through the best (and some of the worst) ways to clean, handle and store our paper documents and photos (take some out of the cloud and make hard copies to enjoy J) and books and fabrics. So, clean hands everyone, book bean bags (oh OK two rolled towels), definitely NO Sellotape and off to the Cheshire Record Office with any local gems we might come across. Use it or lose it.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 30 April 2019
This meeting’s talk mixed humour with poignancy as US ex-pat Rina, now based in Cheshire, whisked us around a selection of local (to Farndon) and less local ‘dead interesting inscriptions and epitaphs’. Her talk began with a selection of the many quotations that she collected from around the world while exploring church graveyards. She went on to demonstrate that buried beneath the inscriptions there is a wealth of local and social history. She talked about the research she undertook, inspired by an interesting name or an unusual reference, during which she was able to unearth in libraries, family trees and galleries, information about the life and times of our forebears. The inscriptions referenced their work in mines, quarries and factories, on canal or naval boats, at war and in childbirth; the climate with its hurricanes, floods and lightning-strikes makes appearances; their games of cricket; and their allegiances to even the less fortunate members of their society such as a local ‘maniac’ memorialised by the community of Llanrhos. Rina finished off by noting that graveyards are a forerunner to our local parks; far from being something to explore with frights and fears, they provide a space, often beautiful, in which we can contemplate our own lives and begin to learn about those who preceded us.
Meeting held on Tuesday 26 March 2019
Sarah Evans gave a very engaging talk on her life history and creative journey leading her into the wonderful art of silk painting. She then demonstrated how she makes her beautiful scarves and paintings. Sarah had also brought along a selection of scarves and cards for sale. It was a great interactive evening as all members had a go at silk painting a scarf, and the ladies doing teas provided us with another round of tea and biscuits while we browsed and chatted. The resultant scarf was then raffled off to one lucky member.
Meeting held on Tuesday 26 February 2019
The midsummer temperatures experienced over the last few days of February gave horticultural consultant Sue Nicholas the perfect background for her tips on preparing our gardens for spring. With the sunny temperatures bringing the daffodils and camellias and magnolias into bloom virtually overnight, Sue was able to give us some timely tips on what to do next and how to do it. She also gently reminded us that, since it is indeed ‘only’ February, all the effort we put into preparing the garden for winter must not be unwrapped too quickly (assuming we had acted on the tips she provided last year!). Sue currently works with volunteers on a project in Rhyl where they grow (and sell) food all year round in three enormous polytunnels. Her enthusiastic presentation of gardening, the joy in being in the garden with family and her work on the project reminded us of the value that working with plants brings to the wider community, providing companionship, leisure and activity for people of all ages and in all states of mental and physical health.
Meeting held on Tuesday 29 January 2019
Jo Darlington from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust battled the snow to get to our meeting and introduce us to the importance of the work of the Wildlife Trusts in the UK via a quiz on the demise of many of the habitats and species that we know (or don’t know) and love. Did you know that the heathland habitat in Cheshire is rarer than rainforest? The Cheshire Wildlife Trust manages Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, Stockport, Warrington, Tameside, Trafford and Wirral, including more than 40 nature reserves with habitats ranging from grasslands and wet meadows to reed beds. In addition to helping conserve and develop local habitats, it is involved in educating the people that use them. For example, introducing children and families to the beauty and benefits of the outdoors and working with young people to help their transition into the adult world of life and work.
Meeting held on Tuesday 30 October 2018 - AGM
The AGM was attended by Cath Stone (WI advisor), Margaret Brockley and Cath Craddock from Broxton and Bickerton (tellers)
The AGM was followed by a presentation from Donna Eaton.
Donna Eaton MBE followed the meeting with a screening of a fascinating film about her investiture as MBE (awarded to her for her services to broadcasting). She began with a brief resume of her career at the BBC World Service and then we settled to watch the official film of the proceedings. The film gave us a peek into Buckingham Palace and the preparations leading up to the presentations of the Queen’s awards – starring our very own Donna Eaton which of course made the film very personal not just to Donna but to us as well!
Meeting Held on Tuesday 25 September 2018
Nanette from Vale Royal Falconry delighted everyone present with her feathered friends. We were introduced to a tawny owl, a barn owl, a little owl and an eagle owl.
Ladies were given the opportunity to stroke the owls and several offered to put on a gauntlet and have one perch on their arm. Amongst many other things we learned that the tawny owl has the twit twoo call: The female calls kewick and the male answers hoohoo; that the barn owl swallows its food whole; that the small owl is the wisest and the eagle owl is the largest.
Meeting held on Tuesday 28 August 2018
As the Memorial Hall is closed for maintenance in August we went to the Art Hub at Burwardsley for our meeting. We were given a lesson in art, most of us were quite concerned at this point! Using the hand we would not normally use for writing we were asked to sketch a shape, be it a hare, bee, flower etc. Using pen, pencil, brush and water and a little diluted bleach we were all quite amazed at how our latent artistic talents were brought to the fore.
Meeting held on Tuesday 31 July 2018
Our speaker this month was Gay Rhodes. She gave an hilarious talk on That Certain Age. She certainly added plausibility to the saying laughter is the spice of life. There were tears of laughter amongst the members. No one could fail to go home and not feel lighter in spirit.
Meeting held on Thursday 28 June 2018
Our Conservative MP Antoinette Sandbach came and talked about her work as a politician both in her constituency and in parliament. She gave an interesting insight into the workings of the house.
Meeting Held Tuesday 29 May 2018
Our speaker this evening was airline pilot, Captain Malcolm Hodgson. He entertained us with an interesting recount of his life and career as a pilot. Tales from above and below the clouds, many spattered with humour, which had us all laughing loudly. The next time the pilot comes over the speaker as we are sat waiting for take-off, we might be reminded of some of his anecdotes and find a smile on our lips.
Meeting Held Tuesday 24 April
The meeting started with the vote on this year’s resolution Mental Health Matters
The NFWI urges all WI members to recognise the importance of parity between mental health and physical health, and take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues, and to lobby government for better support for mental illness.
It was a majority yes vote to be taken to the AGM on our behalf.
The business over the fun began as we enjoyed a game of beetle drive.
The winner was Gwen Purcell and the booby prize went to Sue Pryce.
Meeting Held Tuesday 27th March
Our Speakers this month were Keith and Kathy Williams who are volunteers for Norton Priory, Runcorn. Kathy gave us a very in-depth talk on the history of the Priory which is an historic site comprising of the remains of an Abbey complex dating from 12th to 16th centuries. An evening enjoyed by all.
Meeting held on Tuesday 27th February
Micheal Leach spoke to an enthralled group about Gorillas in the Amazon.
An amazing evening thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Meeting held at the Memorial Hall on Tuesday 30 January 2018
Tonight’s talk was entitled The Origins of Nursey Rhymes. Our guest speaker Jean Finney took us back in time and entertained us with the meaning of many nursery rhymes and the history hidden behind them. The benefits from the history we learned so long ago at school was revealed as we discovered the hidden meanings of the "nonsense" we recited as children, and incidentally also passed down to our own little ones. Religious and political plots were revealed within surprisingly small rhymes, and all enthusiastically participated in reciting the rhymes. Jean opened and closed the evening by playing her guitar and singing one of her amusing compositions: encouraging group participation which was well received. A fun evening enjoyed by all.