On Tuesday 2nd June, I was amongst 8000 WI members from across the UK who attended the WI Centenary Garden Party at Buckingham Palace which was hosted by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Read all about my day on my personal blog.
Every year, WIs across the country have an annual meeting to review the past year, elect the committee and officers, and debate the National Federation (NFWI) resolution.
Reports on the previous year were given by Kirsten on behalf of the Secretary role, and Yvonne our Treasurer. Kirsten also thanked the outgoing committee and our members for their help and support in the previous year.
The four current members of the committee were willing to stand again, and no further members came forward to join. Louise stepped up to take the vacant Secretary role, and Yvonne and Kirsten will continue as Treasurer and President respectively. Maureen will carry on in her role as Welcomer to new starters and her various other tasks including making sure we have cake provided at each meeting!
We debated the proposed NFWI resolution ‘Failing to Care – Assessment of Need in Long-Term Care’ which provoked discussions on personal experiences of the care system, and whether we would support this as a WI campaign for the following year.
To finish the evening, we served cheese and wine alongside some delicious fruit cake, and had a social chat.
In April we took our crafty stash, added some crafting tools and a bit of instruction from Vice President Louise, and made some fantastic handmade cards.We give cards to members on their birthday, and I can’t wait for my birthday to see which card I get.This craftiness coincides with the launch of our new craft club which is open to members on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at Something Lovely Tea Room. Full details are in our newsletter or contact us by email.
We welcomed Jane Bailey to our March meeting to give us an introductory session on Pilates.
Pilates is a series of exercises that condition the whole body to improve core strength, muscle tone, flexibility, balance, stability and posture. It was created by German Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s.Jane explained the basics and some of the terms she uses in her classes that she teaches locally. Soon we were engaging our Transversus Abdominus and pelvic floor, getting into a neutral spine position with tabletop legs, whilst still remembering to breathe.
It was a really good sample lesson and we all took away a lot from the session. And it also meant that we’d earned the usual cake afterwards!
Our next meeting will be on Tuesday April 14th and we’ll be making cards. Hope to see you then!
In February, we had a visit from Louise Seddon who owns Brook Cottage Farm in Furneux Pelham.
Originally a Bank of England employee with a house in Furneux Pelham, Louise and her family wanted to extend their garden by buying part of the field behind their house. The owner of the field would only release the entire field, so the original dream of a few chickens and
somewhere to put the family horses turned into a riding school business with additional sheep, turkeys for sale, hay and a dream of expanding the riding school to include Riding for the Disabled (RDA) courses.
Louise told us about the journey she has gone on from an empty field to raising turkeys from eggs, wrangling wandering sheep, project managing major building works on the schooland it’s facilities, getting licensed and qualified and successfully opening to the public
with help from the local community.
It was a really interesting talk from someone who was so passionate about her business and involvement in the community.
Our June meeting was one that many of us had been looking forward to with a visit from Toby, the owner of the award winning The Cheese Plate in Buntingford.
Toby came to talk to us about the process of cheese making and offered us a chance to try a range of cheese and biscuits all available in the shop. We tried 5 cheeses in total, all served at room temperature, which is the best way to serve cheese.
Other facts we learned during the evening included:
All cheese can be frozen but not all cheese can be defrosted. The best way to get around this is by grating before freezing then putting directly into sauces etc—a good tip for left over Parmesan (don’t forget to use the rind).
Cheese contains good and bad bacteria—it’s better for you than a product like Yakult as it also contains calcium.
Cheeses will taste different at different times of the year because of where the cows are grazing at the time the milk is taken.
Every cheese has a story. Toby told us some of the history and origins of popular cheeses, for example, Wensleydale was originally a French cheese.
Overall, it was a fun evening with Toby telling some “cheesy” jokes. There were plenty of tips such as how to store your cheese and the cheese tasting was delicious.
Toby encouraged members to go into the shop to find out more and also mentioned their Victorian cheese press. You can find The Cheese Plate in Buntingford High Street.
Our May meeting was jam-packed with things to get through, even though the numbers in attendance were small on a very wet evening.
We started by welcoming Heike Schaefer, a specialist nurse, who came to talk to us about organ donation. Her talk was very interesting and she dispelled many of the myths surrounding this topic. Members learned about the different things that can be donated including skin, veins and organs and the amazing difference organ donation can make to the lives of others. Did you know that one body can save the lives of three people?
Heike impressed upon us that if you want to be an organ donor after your death, you should tell your family now so that they are clear about your wishes in a very difficult and emotional time. After her talk, we voted to adopt organ donation as this year’s resolution.
After our tea break it was time for the committee to stand down. We had reports from Yvonne (Treasurer), Hayley (Secretary) and Kirsten (President). Many members of Puckeridge WI were thanked for their contribution over the year and we were reminded of some of the highlights we have had. This was also a good chance for members to offer feedback and a useful discussion was had.
Jill Profit from HFWI then led the group in electing a new committee and a new president. Happily, most members of the previous committee are willing to serve again and we are also welcoming Caroline Noble who will take charge of organising fund raising events etc.
Jill concluded that she was pleased to see that our WI has had a good year and that we have some exciting events coming up in the next few months. Many thanks to all who attended and don’t forget, next month is cheese tasting!
The March meeting didn’t quite go to plan when our speaker for the evening didn’t arrive. This was something we were a little unprepared for, so we started the evening with an early tea break! Always a good way to tackle difficult situations! Kirsten then led us through the business for the evening and reminded everyone that subs must now be paid if you wish to continue coming to meetings. We held the raffle and there was also time for talking and a good catch up.
Thankfully Maureen and Victoria were able to pop back home and collect some ideas for games and a fun evening was spent playing charades and getting to know each other better. Although it wasn’t what we had originally planned, an enjoyable evening was had by all and we were pleased to welcome several new members.
Our April meeting started with a round up of the latest news and announcements. June from HFWI joined us to remind us of the AGM due to take place next month and to discuss the order of business. Members were reminded that if they want to stand for a position on the committee, the May meeting is the time to step forward.
The main part of the meeting was very seasonal as we spent our time making bunny’s bottoms and carrots! The theme was Easter cupcakes and was led by Kirsten. Each member of the group was asked to bring along 2 cupcakes for decorating and there was a large selection of assorted cakes brought along.
We started with fondant modelling, with fondant in orange, green, white and pink provided. The carrots were fairly easy to shape and using a knife we were able to add detail. The leaves at the top were made separately and left a little while to harden before sticking to the carrot shape.
The second task was to shape the bunny’s feet and bottom adding little pink circles for the pads of the paws. Then we iced the cakes
For our February meeting we were joined by Kerry from Something Lovely
Kerry began by sharing with us that her dream had always been to own a tea room by the sea, serving freshly baked cakes and fantastic teas. Kerry had made a very successful career in childcare and having gone as far as she could with that she decided to start making her dream reality!
It was through sheer luck that she had been passing Martyn’s shop on the high street in Puckeridge as the boards were going up advertising it for sale – and she decided to apply. Kerry’s application was considered to be the best idea for the shop and from there she told us of the numerous obstacles that she faced following that – including business plans and applications for change of use. She explained how she found it quite hard to get people to listen to her ideas and take her seriously, but that her husband had been really supportive in backing her up and helping her to make people listen when needed! She shared with us her relief when each stage was given the ‘all clear’ and her dream became real!
Members took the chance to find out more about business plans, congratulate Kerry on her achievements, suggest groups and also give some helpful words of advice through previous experiences!
Overall it was an informative talk and a great insight into how ‘Something Lovely’ came to be.
After an inspirational talk by Hazel Smith at our monthly meeting, ladies from Puckeridge WI had a taster session of Nordic walking on the 18th of January. It was a chilly morning but everyone was very enthusiastic about this new sport and there was an excellent turn out – approx. 12 members.
After adjusting the poles and learning how to master the technique, we had a short walk through the village, putting into practice everything we had learned. It was difficult to keep our elbows straight but after some practice and some group exercises, it became more natural and it was very satisfying when we got the technique right!
All the ladies enjoyed the session and many are keen to take up Nordic walking more regularly. A huge thank you to Hazel for her time and enthusiasm on an early Saturday morning.