Nordic Walking – Saturday 18th January


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.


January Meeting Round Up

Knowing that many members will have made New Year’s resolutions to keep fit, our January meeting was based on health and fitness.

We had a visit from Hazel Smith, a local Nordic Walking instructor who explained the benefits of this exercise. Nordic Walking supports the body and is not as likely to cause injuries as high impact exercise such as aerobics and so is good for all ages and abilities. Using the poles, which are fully adjustable and different from trekking poles, supports you over uneven ground and helps you walk faster. It uses 90% of the bodies’ muscles and you burn 46% more calories than walking alone. Hazel explained that Nordic Walking is very popular is other European countries, especially in Germany where over 4 million people are involved in the sport. It is set to grow in the UK, so watch out for a walking group on a path near you!

Hazel was a very enthusiastic and inspiring speaker and suggested that Nordic Walking is a sport that is very social (as you can talk whilst doing it), it allows you to get out into the countryside, is affordable and may be a more attractive form of exercise than other high impact sports. She runs classes throughout the week and gave out vouchers so that WI members get their first class free. Members were very grateful to Hazel for her talk and donated this month’s raffle and tea money to a charity very close to Hazel’s heart – CHIPS, a charity which runs a play-scheme for children with special needs.

After the tea break, June from HFWI discussed and organised the election of our new president Kirsten Walker. She also wished us a very Happy 1st Birthday.

December Meeting Round Up

Our December Christmas Social was a fantastic night which gave everyone who was in SONY DSC
attendance the chance to chat, try out some crafts and get into the festive mood.

The evening began a little earlier than usual with the arrival of Ware Bell ringers who played a range of traditional Christmas carols and more modern Christmas popular songs.  Members were encouraged to sing along to some of the more familiar tunes, in particular Silent Night which everyone knew the words to.  The bell ringers were amazing with their skill and concentration and it was a lovely way to start the evening.

After a short break for refreshments, which this month, included mulled apple juice, mince pies and stolen as well as crisps and nibbles, members split into groups to try the various activities on offer.

SONY DSCWine tasting was a popular activity where members had to decide which mystery bottle was   the  most expensive, which was medium priced and which was the cheapest.  Two members got this right and collected a prize at the end of the evening.

Other activities included making crackers, felt decorations and biscuit icing.  The cracker making, which was led by Maureen, was lots of fun and made good use of recycled cracker jokes and toys (I hope some of you collected these up over Christmas for next year)

  As it was Christmas, this months raffle was more substantial with a good range of prizes.  This was an exciting event with many members winning a prize.  At the end of the evening prize winners were also announced for best cracker, best biscuit decoration and best bauble.

November Meeting Round Up


A hands on experience was had by members at the November Monthly meeting. Rachel Armstrong came along to show us to how to make a Christmas table arrangement.

We started out the meeting covering our tables with the foliage, flowers, decorations etc while Rachel set us all up with some oasis to put our collections in. Rachel showed us how to start off and then came around giving us suggestions.


I was dubious that I could put together something that looked like it could take pride of place on my dinner table, without it being laughed at, but following the instructions I did produce something that I was quite proud of. Looking around the room, everyone had done a really good job and I hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did. I know our table had a good laugh.

We completed our evening with our usual tea and cake, all donated by Evelyn in celebration of her 60th birthday, and the raffle which included some free range farm eggs, wine and some charity calendars which all seemed to be greatly received.







Kirsten Walker,

Hertfordshire Federation WI Autumn Council Meeting

On the 23rd October, I represented Puckeridge WI at the Hertfordshire Federation WI Autumn Council meeting.    The event was held at Broxbourne Civic Hall in Hoddesdon, and the meeting was filled with delegates from the individual institutes, as well as guests and representatives from nearby federations.

The morning’s business commenced with reports from the various committees and the chairman, Ann Hall. Ann spoke about the need for WIs to embrace new technology.   She also asked for feedback on the new design of the newsletter, and why members attend or don’t attend workshops and events.   Any feedback, requests for events, and even if you want to join a committee should be directed to County House.   Observers are welcome to all committees.

Plans for the centenary in 2015 are underway including a Skype link with the Royal Albert Hall, and a baton relay which will pass through Hertfordshire in May 2015.

>The Arts committee have plans for events next year.   The Current Affairs and Leisure committee mentioned the five resolutions which need to be discussed and reduced to one for debate next year.   The International and Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) committee are planning a Brazilian fun evening and will be fundraising for villages in India.

Denman College are sending out brochures three times a year.   There are bursaries available for courses from HFWI and Denman.   They need support from members and non-members to keep going.   The Homecraft Committee hold courses, generally at County House.   As there are only a few spaces, early application for workshops is necessary.   They are also planning an exhibition for 2015.   The House and Shop committee require new suppliers, in particular for preserves.   They will be having extended opening hours coming up to Christmas.

The Members Advisory Committee mentioned MOODLE and the need for WI Helpers and Advisers.   The Publications committee needs more photos for the next calendar on the theme of Our Green and Pleasant Land by 31st December.   The Performing Arts committee is planning events for the future.

There will be a 3 Counties Quiz in 2014.   A team of 3 is required and the preliminary round is on Friday 7th March in Cottered.   The final will be in Bedfordshire on 24th June.   There is also a quiz sheet for individuals available for 50p on the theme of Tom, Dick and Harry.

The speakers were Peter Lien, Head of the Denman Cookery School who discussed whether modern mothers are better than their mothers at cooking, and John Craven who discussed his career from the obituaries column in a local paper to Countryfile via Newsround and Multi Coloured Swap Shop.   Memories of those 70s and 80s fashions!

Louise Jenkins,
Vice-President, Puckeridge WI

October Meeting Round Up

At our monthly meeting for October
we were treated to a very beatrix potter talk to Puckeridge WIinteresting talk by Pam Wright  on the life and history of Beatrix Potter.  Many of us have very fond memories of the Beatrix Potter stories, my own memories include being snuggled up with my Mum reading Peter Rabbit.


Pam talked about Beatrix as a child and the life she had with her parents, how she spent childhood holidays in the Lake District and how she came to live the remainder of her life there. It was a very enjoyable talk, and included many lovely photographs.  Pam was obviously very knowledgeable and enthusiastic on the subject.


After some tea and cake, and the drawing of the raffle which included some lovely home made jam and home grown apples which were well received, we discussed the business.Leigh was voted in as a new committee member and quickly got onto organising people to donate their time, baking and products to ensure the fundraising opportunity of the

September Monthly Meeting

Our first meeting back after the Summer break was a little quieter than usual with a few members missing. The meeting was led by Vice President, Louise Jenkins who began the meeting with a round up of business and topics discussed at the most recent committee meeting. It was a chance to reflect upon Puckeridge WI so far and what we would like to happen in the future.

Members were asked to fill in a form stating their preference for the raffle (how many prizes and the cost) and to select their top three topics for meetings in 2014—it has been surprising how varied these choices have been!

There was also some discussion of the Autumn/Winter meal out which will take place in November. We hope The Anchor will provide good food at a reasonable cost.
After tea and cake, which looked particularly delicious this week, the meeting continued with a quiz night prepared by Kirsten Walker. There were 10 rounds planned but we didn’t manage to get through them all, so these questions will be saved for a future date. Popular rounds included ‘The Royals’, ‘crafts’ and the picture round where members had to guess the celebrity just by looking at their eyes.

The questions were, at times, light hearted and there was lots of laughs. Congratulations to the winners who were called Buns and Roses.



August Family Trip to Hatfield Forest

Although there was no main meeting in August, members were invited to attend a family fun picnic at Hatfield Forest on the 11th.wi 2

It was a sunny afternoon when the group met. Unfortunately, only three families attended, so numbers were a little small, however, everyone who was in attendance had a lovely time.

Children took part in a scavenger hunt around the lake finding various objects including a pine cone, some- thing round and something man made. All the children received a small prize for their efforts. Thank you to Kirsten for organising this.

Whilst the men supervised the scavenger hunt, the ladies took the chance to catch up over a glass of fizz (also provided by Kirsten). It was a lovely chance to relax and soak up some sunshine whilst the children were kept busy.

Cake obviously featured as part of the picnic and later, before leaving, there was a chance to sample ice creams from the shop whilst the children enjoyed climbing trees.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon but a shame that so many members and their families missed out on this opportunity to socialise. Please do try and support future events if you can. If you have any problems with transport, talk to a committee member and we will do our best to help out.


wi 1

July Meeting Round Up

Busy sewing Pillowcase Dresses

Busy sewing Pillowcase Dresses

On a warm summers evening, thirty six ladies attend our meeting in July, the most popular meeting to date. It was certainly snug in the room once the sewing machines were getting busy and people were sewing buttons and cutting fabric. After a brief welcome and introduction from Victoria, our President, members and guests soon got to work with their pillowcase dresses for Dress A Girl Around the World.


Some members had prepared pillowcase dresses in advance ready for others to embellish with buttons, ribbons and beads which was a great help and even those who said they could not sew were soon with a needle and thread in their hand. There was a cutting table set up for those who wanted to start a dress from the beginning and a few chose to do this, working with each other on deciphering the pattern, measuring, cutting and then ironing to make sure everything was lying flat. The sewing machines were busy all evening with Victoria, Louise and Maureen working up a speed to sew hems and arm holes.


In total eleven dresses were completed during the evening – and there are at least another fifteen in progress to be collected at the September meeting once people have a chance to finish them at home.


You can read more about the Dress A Girl Around the World charity, and look at patterns for pillowcase dresses online here