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.
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.
Our December Christmas Social was a fantastic night which gave everyone who was in
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.
Wine 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.
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.