January Monthly Meeting – Music Quiz

January was our 4th birthday, and we celebrated it by holding a music quiz.   Bolstered by tea and cake, we answered rounds on TV and film themes, 1980s hits and Eurovision, as well as identifying the music personalities who passed away in 2016.   Answers: George Michael, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Rick Parfitt, Bobby Vee, Pete Burns, Billy Paul, Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, David Gest, Victoria Wood, Glen Frey, George Martin and Terry Wogan.

November Monthly Meeting – Chocolate

When we put chocolate into the programme last year, we’d planned to book a speaker to come and teach us about chocolate.   Unfortunately after looking at several companies who either didn’t call us back or were going to charge us hundreds of pounds which a small WI like us couldn’t afford, we had to adopt Plan B.

Fortunately we are a resourceful committee and Vice President Karen came through with a couple of simple recipes (and some delicious tasters at our committee meeting!), and skillfully made batches of truffle mix for our meeting.   All we had to do was scoop out spoonfuls of mix, roll them into balls and then coat them in coconut, vermicelli or cocoa.   She’d even sourced cases and boxes so that we could present them for gifts.
This was one of our favourite meetings to date.   We were all covered in melted chocolate, had a great time chatting and sampling the chocolates (we are very strict on quality control!) and had a far better time than if we’d paid for a speaker.   Everyone went home with the recipes to recreate at home, which I fully intend on doing!

October Monthly Meeting – World Food Social

I know it’s December, but I’m using the holidays to catch up on our blog posts for 2016.   It’s been such a hectic year end and I’ve been so busy, our blog has suffered a bit!In October, we held a social event so that members could get to know each other a bit better.   As President, I rarely get to chat in any depth with members as I’m always doing admin and organising the meeting.   As a start for any conversations, we asked members to bring in a food that reminded them of a place they had visited this year, whether that was a Danish pastry, Australian fairy bread or even a Braughing sausage.

We had such a great collection of food.   There were cream scones from Cornwall, American chocolate brownies, Spanish omelette and sangria, French brie, Madeira cake, Greek olives and stuffed vine leaves, and so much more.   The food was fabulous and the company was even better.   I felt that it was an incredibly successful meeting.

Handmade Christmas Fair 6th November – List of Stallholders


Sunday 6th November from 11am-3pm
at the Standon & Puckeridge Community Centre, Station Road, Puckeridge, SG11 1TF

The Christmas Fair is almost upon us and we have a great line up of local makers, producers, craftspeople and creatives.   There will also be refreshments available for purchase, and a charity raffle to raise money for Teens Unite Fighting Cancer – helping young people during and after their battle with cancer.   Bring plenty of money to purchase some unique and original Christmas gifts.

Puckeridge WI – handmade cakes

Craftyguider – handmade cards, sewn gifts and pin badges

Boxworth Botanicals – all natural skincare, soaps, gift packs, room diffusers, lotions and much more.

Moggy’s Pickles – delicious pickles and chutneys

Kathryn Parratt Handmade Jewellery – handmade jewellery using semi-precious stones, handmade glass and swarovski crystals

Handmade Retro Jewellery – polymer clay jewellery based on retro foods and sweets.

Rona’s Beads Aboard – Gemstone bead necklaces, bracelets and earrings designed and made on a canal boat.

Roger de Clare School Association – Christmas Eve boxes, reindeer food, hot chocolate gifts, and other Christmas items.

Jonardan Glass – Items made from fused glass such as bowls, plates, platters, candle holders and Christmas decorations.

Crochet Christmas – Crochet Christmas decorations.

Blanket Stitch – hand and machine sewn lingerie bags, tote bags, cushions, bunting, aprons, tooth fairy cushions etc.

Shed 6 Creations – Up-cycled glass items including wine bottles, decanters, candle sticks and serving platters.

JOG Handknitted – handknitted children’s clothes, mittens, scarves and dog coats.

SAS Crafts – handmade dolls clothes and jewellery

Dawn’s Nimble Fingers -Knitted and crocheted blankets, baby clothes, animal rugs, playmats, hats, scarves and shawls.

Leaf & Bubble – Handmade candles, soap and wax melts, hand-drawn cards, prints, stationery, gift wrap, ceramics and knitted items.

West Essex and East Herts Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers – Handspun, handwoven and hand-knitted items and rag-rugging.

Christmas Surprises – Scarves, snoods, tree decorations and Christmas gifts.

Handmade Christmas Fair – Stallholders Required

puckeridge-christmas-fairWe are looking for stallholders to sell at our annual Handmade Christmas Craft Fair on Sunday 6th November 2016.
This highly successful event has been running in Puckeridge for several years, and this is the third year that we have been running the fair to showcase local makers and craftspeople.  
The event will be held at the Standon and Puckeridge Community Centre and stalls will cost £20 (with table supplied), or £17 (with own table).   In addition, all WI members from any federation are being offered a 25% discount on the cost of a place.
As well as the stalls, refreshments will be sold and a raffle will be held to benefit a local charity.
Anyone looking for more details should contact info@puckeridgewi.org for an application form or can download one below.

September Monthly Meeting – Twiddlemuffs

puckeridge-wi-twiddlemuffsEvery year we try and include a charity crafting session in our programme.   In the past we have made pillowcase dresses for the Dress a Girl Around the World charity, and nose bands for abused horses and donkeys.   This year we decided to make twiddlemuffs as it ties in well with the national federation resolution of better care for dementia patients in hospitals.   Twiddlemuffs are usually knitted tubes with various embellishments sewn on to them which dementia patients find calming to fiddle with.

Over the summer, the knitters in the group made the blank knitted base pieces, and then everyone sat round at the meeting sewing on donated buttons, zips, ribbons and other textured items.puckeridge-wi-twiddlemuffs-notions

One twiddlemuff has already been donated to a local day care centre where a couple of our members work.   The others will be given to a local representative from the Dementia Friends programme once they have been finished.

July Monthly Meeting – Can I Help You? I’m a Paramedic

Our meeting in July was “Can I help you, I’m a Paramedic?”

Our speaker, Bob Harding-Jones, is the oldest paramedic in the East of England.   This came about as he is still licenced but officially retired.   He joined the service in his 40s after a career as a dairy farmer, and spent 26 years on the front line.

Bob told us many stories from his time as a paramedic, including learning on the job about how to talk to patients, dealing with warring pensioners, coping with timewasting calls and sorting out genuine emergencies.

One of problems he had to deal with was the rigid automatic triage systems which couldn’t cope with 3 month old babies (“Can the patient form sentences?”) or 84 year old women (“Is the patient pregnant?”).   Needless to say, common sense prevailed.

Even “Dr Google” had his moment of glory in helping a patient diagnose a serious poisoning case themselves.   Bob explained that the key is to ignore the first sensational diagnoses and probably look for the NHS entries.

NFWI Annual Meeting in Brighton 11th June 2016

2016 NFWI Annual Meeting Notes

Chair’s Address – Janice Langley

Janice looked back on the centenary – including the fruit cake! – the WI Fair in Harrogate and the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House.

She spoke about Denman and how with the extension of the campus, costs have also increased.  Only 3% of members use Denman and NFWI want to increase this.   Maintenance will be looked at by a professional survey company.

There will be a healthy eating week in June 2017.

The website will be updated with ‘Have a go at…’ projects to download.

NFWI can send someone to talk to groups with more than 50 members to tell them about the NFWI.

MCS currently shows 226,402 members.

Hon. Treasurer’s Statement

Income £6.83 million
Expenditure £7.28 million
Net deficit £450,000

Subs are likely to increase.


Appropriate care in hospitals for people with dementia

‘We call upon HM Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that have been admitted into hospital.’

3305 for, 856 against – motion carried

Guest Speaker – Rona Fairhead, BBC Trust Chairman

She showed a montage of BBC clips and Tom Hiddleston’s appearance received plenty of attention.

She congratulated the WI on achieving so much in 101 years.

Financial pressures mean there will be tough decisions in the future but they will continue to Inform, Educate and Entertain.


Avoid food waste, address food poverty

‘The WI calls on all supermarkets to sign up to a voluntary agreement to avoid food waste, thereby passing surplus food on to charities thus helping to address the issue of increasing food poverty in the UK.’

5146 for, 1080 against – motion carried

Guest Speaker – Baroness D’Souza, Lord Speaker

She explained the procedures that occur in The Lords when bills come to them for approval from The Commons.

Although the age distribution, race and religion mix are changing, there is still a long way to go.   There are more than 800 members of the Lords – only the Chinese National Congress is larger – and she believes that it is too big.   It is also getting too politically biased and there are relatively fewer cross benchers.

Chair’s Remarks

The WI will continue to develop in the future.

More use will be made of the website and social media.

September is the next MCS month.

There will be a members only section of the website with exclusive resources, projects and recipes.

Moodle will be developed in it’s training role.

The WI wants to improve communication.

There will be a NFWI census for all members online and in WI Life so that members can express what they want from the WI, how it spends it’s money etc.

The meeting finished with the National Anthems plus a selection of Proms inspired songs.

Report by Louise – President – Puckeridge WI

June Monthly Meeting – Photo walk

Puckeridge WI Photo walk 6Our June meeting caused a bit of a stir in the village when a group of women were spotted roaming around with cameras.   Was Tom Hiddleston expected in Puckeridge?   Were William and Katherine popping down to the Crown and Falcon to avoid the crowds in Cambridge?   No, it was Puckeridge WI out on a photo walk.Puckeridge WI Photo walk 1We started off at the hall and were given a worksheet by Fallon, our expert, giving examples of things to try including close ups, filling the frame and shooting without looking through the viewfinder.Puckeridge WI Photo walk 5Simple every day objects were given the paparazzi treatment and studied in close detail.Puckeridge WI Photo walk 4Even the weather, which earlier had threatened to call the whole event off played ball in the end and helped with the photos, even if there was no chance of getting the lens flare shot ticked off the list.Puckeridge WI Photo walk 3I will never look at a brick wall in the same way again!Puckeridge WI Photo walk 2No matter whether we had a DSLR, a small compact or just a camera phone, we were all able to take part.   Fallon was also helpful answering questions about cameras and pointing out different angles and shots to try.   This was such an enjoyable meeting and one of my favourites so far.   Puckeridge WI Photo walk 7Our next meeting is on 12th July.   For more information, look at our About page and drop us an email to get on our newsletter mailing list.