5th January 2013
June 12th 2012 seems a long time ago - that was the evening of our Birthday Meeting, when unfortunately, because of the weather (as happened for many local events in the summer of 2012), we were unable to have the planned Garden Party, but instead we decamped to the Village Hall, where we had a very sociable evening with a Beetle Drive and a supper of pâtés and cheeses with strawberries and cream for dessert, all prepared by the ladies of the Committee. Then on July 10th Mr David Bayley came to give us a demonstration of the "Magic Lantern - a journey back to the nineteenth century". We heard how things began about 200 years ago with pictures (often 'horror' images) painted on glass and sealed ready for projecting. As technology improved, including the use of 'limelight', magic lantern shows became more popular, first with travelling showmen and then as a hobby at home. David took us through the history of these shows with a gleaming magic lantern and slides he had collected over the years, ranging from scenes of Victorian life, stories, advertising and even moving images made by fixing two pieces of glass together with a lever creating the movement. We were amazed by the artistry of tiny images created on the small slides which revealed such detail when enlarged.
The subject for our August meeting was "Meat Free Cookery Made Easy" with Liz Hughes of Malvern, and members were treated to an entertaining and informative demonstration of vegetarian cookery, with the added pleasure of plenty to taste afterwards! You can see more about Liz on www.ourlizzy.com which gives details of the courses and demonstrations offered for all ages, at Liz's home or your own venue.
Our Produce & Handicraft Show, took place on 11th September, and we were pleased to welcome several visitors at the evening meeting. There were not as many entries as last time, particularly in the Produce Section after this damp summer, but the official WI Judges commented very favourably on all the entries in the Produce and Handicrafts Sections. They were also impressed by the 25 colourful little dresses on display, made so far by members of the Craft Group for the "Dress A Girl Around The World" charity (see www.sewscrumptious for more information).
On Tuesday 9th October Mr Berry from Halesowen gave us a very amusing and also informative talk, "A Day In Court", about his work as a volunteer in the Birmingham Courts, where he was involved with the Crown, Magistrates and Family Courts. Volunteers help to make Courts less intimidating for victims and witnesses, so less of an ordeal, and our speaker showed us that a volunteer certainly sees the whole range of our society and definitely needs a sense of humour to do this vital work. As well as telling us some highly entertaining stories, he gave us an insight into how the victim and witness support system has vastly improved over the last few decades.
Members helped to run a Coffee Morning on September 1st to raise funds for Canine Partners. It was a lovely morning in a member's garden, and people enjoyed refreshments while visiting all the stalls. Stella Hewett brought her companion dog Jenson, who stole all our hearts, and well over £300 was raised.
There was a Social Skittles Evening on Friday 28th September at The Bluebell, Ryall. Even those of us who are not very adept at Skittles enjoyed the evening, which included a piping hot supper, and it was good to see so many members, husbands, partners and friends there, including two visitors from the USA.
On Wednesday 31st October six members of Guarlford W I joined a record number of ladies, representing W Is from all over Worcestershire, in the Severn Hall at the Three Counties Showground for the Annual Council Meeting of the Worcestershire Federation. Things had been changed around since the previous Annual Meeting, so there was much more space for the Country Market and various other W I stalls round the perimeter of the main Conference Hall. A new smaller hall has now been built next to it, which gave more room to house the Crafts Competition, including, of course, the Co-operative Entries, in which our Craft Group participates each year.
The theme chosen for the Co-operative Entry this time was "The Great British Tea Party", with four items and staging to be judged; the staging consisted of neatly-stitched pale green fabric with small flag bunting picking out the main colours of the whole display (green and dark & light shades of salmon pink). Our hand-crafted item was an original design beautifully woven tea-napkin, and Cookery item delicate butterfly cakes displayed on a traditional glass cake stand. Card-making and calligraphy skills were used to create an invitation card, and the flower arrangement was in a white china teapot and composed of spray carnations in the lighter shade of salmon pink and alstroemerias in a darker shade, with deeper salmon colour heuchera leaves as a background. A pretty china cup and saucer completed our tea party 'table'. Our total score was 82 %, and we calculated that we had come a creditable 5th or 6th.
The morning meeting began, traditionally, with the Chairman's welcome to all delegates and guests and the singing of 'Jerusalem'. This was followed by various reports, and it seems that the W I is flourishing in our rural county, with several new Institutes starting up and membership of existing W Is growing healthily. Indeed, looking round the large audience, (800 compared to the previous year's 500) we did wonder if the increase just might have been due to the draw of the main speaker of the afternoon: a certain red-haired farmer from the Cotswolds whose farming year is show-cased weekly on BBC 1's Sunday evening 'Countryfile'. The rousing applause and rapt attention Adam Henson received that afternoon confirmed our suspicions that he has a devoted following among the country-women of our county! He did a book-signing during the lunch hour and a long queue formed as we bought his books.
The morning's three speakers were interesting and informative, especially Chief Constable of West Mercia, David Shaw. He came over as a sincere, principled and warm policeman who believes victims of crime should be the main concern of the police, seeing those in his 'care' as people, not statistics, a welcome attitude! The first speaker of the day was Julia Goodfellow-Smith who wanted to engender us, enabling women to rise to the top in business, industry, politics etc, and told us of classes to be arranged at Malvern Library. Finally came Peter Lien, the chef in charge of the Denman Cookery School, who challenged us with the idea that 'today's mothers are better cooks' than we were. He showed us how life has changed and that today's young women (and men) have a far greater range of ingredients and technology to use; he encouraged us to join the Denman classes and altogether gave a very entertaining talk.
All in all, it was a most enjoyable event, and we went home with the feeling of time well-spent.
We held our own AGM in November, and December 11th was our Christmas Meeting, when we were welcomed with glasses of warm punch and then created pretty Christmas table arrangements, using fresh greenery, candles, holders and baubles. We all enjoyed the Buffet and choosing presents from the Lucky Dip basket.
Our 2013 Programme can be found by clicking here, and visitors are always welcome at our meetings. In January there is no meeting in the Village hall, but we go out for Sunday lunch with our husbands, friends and partners.