When and where we meet:

Every 2nd Monday of the month at 7.30pm in the Memorial Hall, Leigh on Mendip

Visitors welcome!

For more details contact Mary Mears

or leave a comment here on our blog


Leigh on Mendip Community Coffee Mornings.

1st Monday of the month in the Memorial Hall from 9.45 to 10.45am.

Come along for a coffee and a chat! Everyone welcome.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Wednesday's carol service in Wells

Val and Jeni went along to the county carol service in Wells cathedral:
The cathedral as usual was packed, the service wonderful especially the first carol, Jerusalem sung by all those ladies. The singing was amazing ('though a little high!) Readings good and the choir sounded brilliant.

Thank you, Val and Jeni for your reports - it sounds as if more of us should go next year! It must be very special to hear all of those voices singing together.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Christmas flower decorations

Well, our last meeting of 2012 was inspiring! We had a final reading aloud of the minutes, as next year they will be on the blog. Plenty of Christmas cards and good wishes were exchanged along with some interesting feedback from all the various events we had attended.
Some members had kindly brought contributions for the Frome Food Bank, and we all agreed to make this a monthly collection. June B is our local volunteer, and she will receive non-perishable items at her house if anyone else wishes to donate.
Coral Gardiner gave us a very entertaining and skilled demonstration: she created two beautiful Christmas garlands and two amazing table displays - all of which were "lovely"! One of the wreaths is now on my front door, and Coral was quite correct when she said the blackbirds would be interested in the dried apple slices! Mary was the lucky raffle prize winner, and took home a stunning table display, with gorgeous deep red roses and carnations.

The Christmas tree biscuits and mini mince pies were delightful! Thank you Sue R & June B!

The icing on the Christmas cake, as it were, was a visit from Santa! He drove past on his float, music quite loud enough to entice us all to the windows to see him drive by!

We're all looking forward to our January meeting: Richard Blunden, who volunteered at the Paralympics, is coming to tell us about how it was for the Games Makers. In a dull, dark month, it will be wonderful to have a bit of the magic and optimism we all felt during the Olympic Games this year. Please be sure to tell your neighbours and friends! This will be something special!
Merry Christmas and 
a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

WI Winners again at the bingo!

What a great evening! The hall was glittering and shiny in it's Christmas regalia, and full of people raising money for the skate park. The Recreation Field committee had certainly pulled out all the stops to put on a very successful event.

We seem to be following our lucky tradition, with WI members coming away with lots of prizes!  5 of the 8 players on our table came away laden down! Your good luck charm is working well, June!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Film club....

On Wednesday 12th December, Marguerite and I will be leaving here at 2pm; we're going to see the new film, 'Great Expectations' at Wells Film Centre.

Anyone else like to come along? Let me know!

Such a busy time!

A good contingent from Leigh on Mendip attended the Group carol service at Kilmersdon Church yesterday morning. Luckily it was a beautiful, sunny morning, so it was a special treat to walk through the lovely village of Kilmersdon. Children from the school joined us and sang two lively carols. Their singing was excellent, and I thought it was quite an inspired touch by Kilmersdon WI ladies to invite them.

Our December lunch at The Bell was, as usual, very good! Tasty food and marvellous company! Next date: Friday 4th January - hope to see you there!  June B told us more about the Frome food bank. She has placed a collection box in the church and in the pub. The idea is for us to add an item to our weekly shopping, which we put in one of the boxes (or she says we can drop it in to her house) on a regular basis. We'll see if it's something we want to do at WI each month; they also need carrier bags, so I'm hoping everyone will bring a carrier with food to donate on Monday, our next meeting. This is so often a time of year when we buy and eat too much! Let's buy too much, but give the surplus away to the folk who are struggling to make ends meet. Any non-perishable food, and some treats too!

Tonight there will be a strong WI team at the bingo! With our lucky mascot in attendance, working her magic! Go June! It promises to be a fun evening!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Denman Visit and our Christmas meal

Denman College was looking simply splendid in the cold sun when a few of us went to the Christmas Fair and Jam Festival. It was a real treat, there were plenty of wonderful things to see (including a demonstration by the chef from The Great British Bake Off!) and buy. The college really did look wonderful, inside and out - we can't let it fall out of our hands!

Monday evening saw 20 of us eating, drinking and making merry at the Poacher's Pocket to celebrate Christmas. Our Secret Santa was, as usual, a great success, with such a variety of gifts! Photos were taken, so I hope to add some as soon as I can get hold of them!

The Frome WI Christmas Craft Fair was a great success, such a friendly atmosphere, greatly enhanced by the fantastic Frome Community Choir! Wow! Did they raise the roof with their singing!

Today we're just off to the carol service at Kilmersdon, which promises to be special; followed by our usual monthly lunch at The Bell. We certainly know how to enjoy ourselves!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Denman College

As you will be aware, Denman College is under threat through financial difficulties. There is an article all about it in WI Life, and the future of the college looks pretty uncertain. Our Somerset Federation Denman Representative, Veronica Andrews spoke passionately about making every attempt to save it at the Somerset Meeting in Yeovil which a number of us attended. There is very strong feeling that we should do what we can to save it.
Responding to the questionnaire in the magazine would be an excellent idea in the first place, so they know there is a lot of interest and support here for the college.

Does anyone have any other ideas to suggest?

We also need to consider our own Denman bursary - if you all agree that we continue to add £75 each year, we shall have approximately £200 for someone to use in 2013. The course brochure is online on the WI website, and we have several copies which we will bring to the next meeting.

If no-one is keen to take it up, we could use the money we have put aside for a training day for ourselves held in our own village: we would need to find a topic or two which appeals to us all! A tall order? here are some ideas to set you thinking: photography, art, music, singing, computers, craft, cookery......

over to you! what do you think? which option do you prefer?

Throwing down the gauntlett!

At last night's committee meeting two members of the committee announced that they don't bother to look at the blog! Now there's a challenge if ever I saw one!

We've decided to make life easier for all of our members by having the blog available for viewing at every meeting next year! Starting off in a big way in January with the projector so that everyone can look at it together on the big screen! (No hiding in the kitchen to avoid it this time!). After that, those of us who can, will bring our portable internet devices so that members can browse the blog during our social, second half of the evening.

Then, no-one will miss out on all the news - and if you want to, you will be able to add your comments and ideas!

Feedback from our last meeting!

Just to say thanks, and congratulate you on a very entertaining evening. Usually AGM's are very dull affairs by cutting down on the business and adding the choir was first rate. You really have brought a breath of fresh air through our midst which was much needed.

I certainly enjoyed reading through our WI blog this morning, it was very interesting. Am I right in thinking extra business will be by e-mail and reports, meeting etc will be on the blog.

Sorry you lost Sandra, hope she will remain a member. Its the younger females we need to attract instead spending their time in the pub, which I believe they do, to just come along they might learn something instead of nattering to their friends, widen their horizons and even make friends with us older generation as I feel I am. I used to know all the Mums, and children going to/fro from School, now I am lucky if I know one.

Here's my best wishes for another successful year as President, and to your Committee which also support you.

Thank you very much, June F, for your very kind comments, they are much appreciated! Thank you also to the other members who came to speak to me after the meeting. I really appreciate your encouragement and support.
We also received a lovely letter from Westfield Ladies Choir, thanking us for a warm welcome and saying how much they appreciated the applause and our singing!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Our AGM + singing!

It was agreed pretty much unanimously that we had an excellent evening! A glass or two of wine helped the proceedings to go with a swing! It was lovely to see so many members present - was it the possibility of a certain choir master? Who knows! Westfield Ladies Choir gave us a lovely performance and then lead some community singing, rounded off with a hearty rendition of Jerusalem!

We are looking to continue the recruitment drive, ably lead this year by Kathy, who has introduced no less than 3 guests! Come on the rest of us! We need to do some catching up here! You can remind your friends and neighbours that we always have a laugh, we're cutting the business section in half because we are all so technologically advanced at Leigh On Mendip WI, and we are very friendly and welcoming. (And we do lots of exciting stuff!)

Please try to make a heart cushion or bag for Marie Masters' challenge. If you don't have the time or inclination, then maybe you would be kind enough to buy a bag of cushion stuffing or donate a (clean!) old cotton shirt/skirt or something we could use. I will e mail the pattern ( and attempt to put it on here, 'though photos are sometimes a bit temperamental!).

Our Denman Bring and Buy raised about £80! Accurate amount to be verified, this was just a quick count up! Wow! Thank you all and well done for bringing in so many enticing items!

We have lots of events and activities in the next month - let's have a wonderful time, and keep a look out for e mails - I'll try to send out reminders in time!

Thank you all for electing me as your President again!
Please have a think about joining the committee; we have only 6 members, and the whole idea is that we each take on a small rôle, then it is easily managed and very enjoyable. The more the merrier is the phrase which fits here, so please do have a think about it! We meet once a month to plan the main meetings, and once this year we had a virtual meeting! We simply couldn't find a date we could all manage, so held the meeting electronically! What fun! (As they say!)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A new opportunity? Just say 'yes'!

Eight of us attended the County Annual Meeting in Yeovil today - feeling part of the great WI family and realising just what it is we belong to! A great day!

The morning saw the business section: our outgoing County Chair, Carole, introduced the Board of Trustees and we began the day with a rousing 'Jerusalem'.
The chairman of South Somerset District Council welcomed us all with a very optimistic look at Yeovil and district's future, thanks largely to the spirit of optimism and success engendered by  the Queen's visit to the town for the Jubilee celebrations and the Olympics - and a huge investment by Augusta Westlands.

The standing orders were adopted. A delegate from each WI has a vote.
One point for us all to consider: next summer we can make nominations to the County Federation for new Trustees. A rewarding opportunity.

The  County Chair and Treasurer attended  the National Council meeting; NFWI finances are healthy, membership is rising. There is, however, a problem with the financial situation at Denman. We are the only Women's Organisation with our own college - we must keep it! 'Use it or lose it' is the slogan!  Wy not ask for Denman gift vouchers for your Christmas or birthday gifts? Look at the next edition of County News, on the front page you will find two Denman bursaries on offer! Apply! Several people mentioned the need to support Denman throughout the day, a recurring theme.

Plans are afoot for our NFWI centenary celebrations in 2015, to pass a baton throughout the country - it will travel through Somerset in March 2015! Let's be sure we can join in the fun!

You will remember voting on the venue for the 2015 National AGM? The results were inconclusive! A decision will be made soon. Opting for a huge venue so that every WI can be represented is risky - high cost and will everyone attend?

We have a copy of the new WI Guide - we'll bring it to Monday's meeting

The County Treasurer's report demonstrates that SCFWI is financially viable and healthy for the forseeable future. The report was adopted.

The Annual Report of Activities was presented in a very interesting and entertaining way:
                           "Who has been inspiring women in Somerset?"
The 6 Somerset women who took part in the upcycled little black dress competition paraded across the stage, I gave a description of our Let's Cook Local course, we heard about a music bursary taken up at Denman, a very clever poem which won the poetry competition was read to us.... and there was a long list of the crafts, sports and other courses and activities which have taken place this year.
Our membership has increased by 120 this year!

 Next, Margaret Bigg gave us ideas to encourage more people to join us: mainly asking friends,
encouraging neighbours to come along. She also described next year's holiday: a 13 day leisurely, 4* trip to Tuscany, with the majority of meals and many organised visits and trips included. Look out for details in a future County News. It promises to be lots of fun and very good value for money.

Vivien Lloyd spoke to us about her exciting new project: she is an acclaimed preserves and jam maker, having written a book and won several prestigious prizes for her produce. She is a National WI judge and next March will run a training course at Denman for people who would like to become NFWI preserves judges.

Then we heard a brief talk from Steve Greenhalgh about safe driving; telling us about an initiative to improve driving safety and offering a free talk for Somerset groups.

Some WIs are involved with charities: one told us about the Osteoporosis Society and Marie Masters, one of the Trustees, who has had lymphatic and breast cancer this year, set us all a challenge. Can we make heart shaped cushions and/or little shoulder bags? These are for cancer patients to use and will be donated to cancer units at hospitals in Somerset (+ the RUH in Bath) we will bring copies of the pattern on Monday.

We heard how successful the Trading Post has been this year, bringing in over £1,000 to the WI coffers.

Anniversary Certificates were presented to a number of WIs, ranging from 95 - 60 years.

Finally came the turn of our speaker,  Paul Atterbury, whom Antiques Roadshow devotees will recognise. He's the chap with the stripey jackets, all purchased in charity shops, the very first one in Sherborne! What a fascinating life, based on the principle of saying yes to whatever opportunity came along. His Mother was the puppeteer who worked Andy Pandy, and she told him that she based Andy Pandy on him! Perhaps this is why he likes the stripes! He was an excellent and very entertaining speaker.

Carol then gave her closing remarks, thanked everyone and was presented with some Denman vouchers from the Board of Trustees as a farewell gift!

We all agreed it had been a fabuous day! Can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Operation Christmas Child

This evening, Mary and I called in to Caroline's house to sort out all of the shoe boxes and gifts kindly supplied by our WI members. We had some beautifully covered boxes, plenty of soaps, toothbrushes, combs, gloves, hats, stationery, soft toys, games ...... Enough to fill 9.5 boxes! One completely filled box was supplied, and a couple of people have offered to buy the items we need.

We also have to include £2.50 for each box; members have donated £9.50 - thank you! If anyone who hasn't already been generous and would like to contribute, please bring a donation along to our meeting on Monday.

Remember that we have our Do it for Denman bring and buy sale at the meeting on Monday! A chance to find a quirky Christmas gift? Please bring something if you can, as well as some cash to buy!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Big Walk Little Splash

A letter arrived today from Liz Murdoch, our County Co-ordinator for Sport and Leisure, to say thank you for our entry.
In our category, Rodney Stoke and Draycott had a higher percentage of members taking part, so our entry has not qualified for submission to National.

It was good fun making the attempt, 'though! Liz encouraged us to keep up the activity, even without the incentive of a competition! I guess we'll all be walking to the pub on 2 November! Unless anyone would care to organise a walk for us? I'm sure there will be people interested to join in!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Wyke Farms Visit - you missed a real treat!

Click on the photo above and enlarge it! You will see that it says:
"Prize Winning Cheddar Starts here"
and my goodness me, it does! We were given a very warm welcome by Richard Clothier, managing director of Wyke Farms Cheese. His grandparents began farming here at Wyke Champflower in 1902, and his Grandmother started makng cheese. The family has continued to farm in the area, and the cheese making has developed into an international business, selling family made, locally produced Cheddar cheese to 153 countries. (China being the fastest growing market). One of their unique approches is to take the cheese to shows across the country so that people can talk to them and taste the product. This way, many more customers buy Wyke Farms cheese when they see it in the supermarket.
The tour around  the factory was fascinating, from seeing a tanker delivering milk to the tanks in the photo above, we watched the journey taken by the milk into cheese or butter, by products: whey and lactose is dried and sent for use in the food industry, cream is made here and skimmed milk is condensed to send to Yeo Valley for their yoghurt, and anything remaining is either purified and used for machinery cleansing or to feed the pigs on the farm below the factory.
Couldn't resist getting a photo of this sign! Wallace and Grommit where are you?

The complete dedication and passion about the whole process was evident from everyone who spoke to us, it was very interesting, especially when we began discussing fair prices for milk producers and the profit margins made by the supermarkets.
As we drove home, Sue, Val and I decided that we can easily make a difference to our supermarkets and what goes on. each time we can't find something we want on the shelves, or if we want to know whether they are paying a fair price to their producers -  we need to ask! Go to the customer services desk and ask a question! They really do take notice, so let's start doing it! Individually and collectively, we can make a difference!

We were also awarded a very generous discount in the shop on our way out! We were first there, and when we realised the extent of the discount, we each bought more! I bet once every member of the WI group had gone through, the shelves would have been empty! My 'Crunchy Extra Mature Cheddar' has already been well and truly sampled!
I'm thinking we should have a cheese tasting session at one of our meetings.......

Group Meeting in Kilmersdon

Last evening 5 of us from Leigh went along to hear the talk on the history of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which included a little detour around the Somerset Coal Canal! It was very interesting! The speaker had a fascinating technique of showing us an old photograph or painting, describing the features which have now disappeared (I was a bit horrified to learn just how many canal side buildings have burnt down!) and then juxtaposing on screen the same view taken recently. This way we could really see the developments (or destructions!) which have taken place. It was interesting, too, to learn how many times  bureaucracy has thwarted the authentic restoration of the canal. (What patience and determination has been shown by the stalwarts of  the restoration).

The competition painted flowerpots in the canal art style were quite spectacular, it must have been a hard job making a judgment on them all.

Next Group meeting will be in Leigh on Mendip in January for the business meeting and the actual meeting is in March. We shall have to plan some good refreshments (the bar has been set high!) and an entertainment to follow the speaker. (There is an idea or two floating around, for a spot of fun....! ) the competition is to produce an A4 sheet depicting 'What I love about Frome' -  any ideas?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

When is the next trip to Montacute House?

What an excellent evening! Our speaker, Sonia Powell, the Collections Manager from Montacute House gave us a very entertaining and interesting picture of what happens behind the scenes. She was very knowledgeable and clearly passionate about her work, which always makes the evening enthralling. Between April and October a massive 72,000 people visit Montacute House! We saw a picture of the huge pile of dust which was swept from the coir door mat! We learned of the painstaking methods used to clean, care for and document every item contained in the house - and picked up a tip for anyone looking for a new career: in restoring old fabrics! Apparently there are few  people able to do this, and it is very expensive! Sonia also told us about how she had been able to reclaim a portrait of the owner, Phelips, which had been presented to him by James I. The family had sold it several years ago for £34,000, a price which put it out of reach of the National Trust. However, it was put up for sale again recently at Sotheby's and thanks to a bequest from one of the volunteers at Montacute they were able to bid successfully - £195,000! - to return to to its original home.

Ater a brief break for refreshments, we watched the film of our Frome Group Olympic Warm Up! It was great fun, and really good to see just how many people had taken part (& a very active part, too!)

We are looking forward very much to next month's meeting, our AGM; a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to 2013. It will also be an opportunity for any member to join the committee; I can highly recommend it! Later, we will welcome Westfield Ladies Choir. They are going to sing to us and then allow us to join in! Someone asked if Gareth Malone will be there...... You'll just have to come along and find out!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

October lunch at The Bell

A small group of 4 members met at The Bell yesterday for lunch. We enjoyed our meals and the lively conversation including catching up with summer holiday excitements.

Next time will be Friday 2 November, we look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Journal is ready!

Well done everyone!
We have 85% participation and we walked and swam 1531 miles!

What an achievement!
Thank you to Caroline who has done all the work on creating the journal. Can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Big Walk Little Splash

Last night Barbara, Caroline and I spent some time looking at all of our miles (mainly walking with a few swimming!) and we finally came to a decision on how best to present the information in our A5 Journal. The instructions were very precise in some ways, but left a lot to our own imagination, so with all three of us working together, we think we have come up with a formula! All we need to do now is put it into practice!
We're going to do it on the computer, and Caroline is kindly setting up the layout - we thought it best to use the mileage form provided  as the template for each page, with a line or two extra to add some interest. Otherwise it would be a book full of forms, which could be a bit dull! The extras will involve  photos, maps or any relevant similar material (so, if you have any which you can let us have digitally or actually, that would be fantastic - 'though it would need to be right now, as the journal has to be handed in to County by October 1!). We'll also have a feature on the different counties and countries in which we have walked, and, of course, a mention of our good intentions to walk together to our pub lunches earlier in the year, when rain kept on stopping play!
The plan is to print two copies, one to send off to County and the other for you all to see. The original idea was for as many members to take part as possible, and I think we have achieved this!
So, thank you all very much! You will be able to see the Journal at our next meeting.

Breaking news! It's now Tuesday evening and we've filled out our Journal as far as we can! Currently we have only 73% of members who have submitted swimming or walking miles! If just 4 more are able to let us know... It would bring us up to a massive 81% of members who have participated! Pretty impressive in anyone's book!

And.... We have walked and swum an incredible 1,500 miles since April!

Wednesday morning update! We have 2 more walkers to add to our list!
Excellent..... Only 2 to go now!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Visit to Wyke Farm is booked, and we have 2 spare tickets!

We shall be going to the cheese packing farm near Bruton on Wednesday 10 October, 10.30 until 12.30. We must wear flat shoes, no jewellery (except for a wedding band) and they will supply protective clothing. (to protect the cheese, not us!). There will be coffee and cake!
We'll organise transport nearer the time. The cost is £4

If you know anyone who would like to join us, please let me know immediately.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Bulb Fairy!

When I returned from my weekend away, there was a lovely surprise waiting for me! My bulbs, ordered earlier in the year had arrived! Those I had ordered last year provided a fabulous spring show,  so I'm looking forward to adding this selection.

Thank you, Sandra, for organising the orders and for kindly delivering them to us all!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Very successful programme planning meeting!

Many thanks to Ann, Barbara,  Caroline, Jan,  Jane, Mary, Sandra, Kathy and Val for gathering together a list of possible speakers, visits and activities for us to peruse, talk over and select. We've put together a varied and fun packed list for 2013; all we have to do now is actually book them! If they all say yes for the sessions we've chosen, we'll have a year to look forward to!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Record Breakers!

Hooray indeed! I've just read on Facebook that we have made it into the Guiness Book of Records! The 15 minutes of knitting we did during the National AGM has been verified as record breaking! Have a look on the WI website for more details. There's a photo on the WI website and Facebook page of some of the chains in use! (wrapped around an anchor!) Woohoo!

WI film club pioneers!

We've just returned from our first foray into the film club at Wells Film Centre! The staff were very friendly and we enjoyed a cup of tea on arrival. We saw Anna Karenina, and for the romantics amongst you, I can highly recommend it! So full of emotion and passion!
The other viewers were quiet throughout, no sweet paper rustling, no chattering or (hooray!) no-one kicking the back of your seat all the way through!
Marguerite and I had an excellent afternoon - can't wait for our next trip!

On checking the cinema website, I have next on my list 3rd & 17th October, a couple of Shakespeare comedies: All's well that ends well and Much Ado About Nothing. Anyone else coming too? Both Wednesday at 3pm.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Cuisine of the Lebanon is trending in Leigh on Mendip!

What a fabulous evening! Wafaa Powell brought us such a wonderful taste of her country and it's cookery at our meeting on Monday night! She prepared some very simple dishes, using very basic, readily available ingredients - and wow! A real taste sensation! Everyone sampled the dishes and many of us couldn't resist having seconds! (would have been rude not to!). Lots of dishes went home, too! There was some talk of making the fattouch for the Harvest Supper! ( an absolutely gorgeous salad! Though, I made it for tea on Tuesday, and getting the right kind of lettuce and being accurate with the amounts of lemon juice and olive oil is clearly pretty crucial! Wafaa appeared to just slosh it all in! No! That's years of practised sloshing, I would say! Needs careful tasting before serving! Well worth the effort) Wafaa is an excellent speaker, whose Belly Dancing evening we all thoroughly enjoyed a couple of years ago. She asked us to recommend her to other groups; she does parties, too! Fun!

Tea towel sales went very well! Like hot cakes! Inadvertently we appear to have a competition going on how far a tea towel will travel - if Val decides to send one to her daughter in Tasmania, she could well win that one! Unless anyone else has a more distant contact....?

There were loads of dates to put in the diary, too: Monday 17 September programme planning meeting,  first Friday of October lunch at The Bell,  9 October, Group meeting at Kilmersdon about the history of the Kennet and Avon canal: another good speaker, from all accounts. Visit to the cheese factory at Wyke Farm in Bruton, either 26 Sept or 10 Oct. Somerset Annual meeting 10 November, Christmas Fair at Denman 1 or 2 December, our Christmas meal 3 December, County Carol Service 12 December. Please let me know immediately if you wish to attend any of these.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Wells film centre : WI Film Club

I've just been over to Wells to join the WI film club, which entitles me to attend the tea matinées, have a cup of tea and a biscuit and pay no booking fee when organising my viewing as well as a 50p reduction on each ticket. Since it cost me £5 to join, all I have to do is see 11 films and I'll be quids in!

The first one on my agenda is Anna Karenina; Marguerite and I will be going next Thursday afternoon. If anyone else would like to come with us, please let me know! (£5 to join and £6 for the film)

Another fun and fabulous lunch!

Yesterday, we met at The Bell for a really tasty lunch - the food was excellent! The company was superlative! Thank you all for coming! I'm looking forward to next time,  Friday 5 October 12.15 for 12.30

Don't forget that Monday is an open WI meeting, so friends, partners, neighbours, the person in the street..... all will be welcome!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The President's Evening

Another wet evening! At least this year we didn't even try to call it a garden party!

We had a great time! Lots of chat and lovely food to share. We watched the film of the Group Olympics warm up and could really see why the Real Olympics were such a success of human endeavour and friendliness - all thanks to our preparations and lead! Caroline is just checking her in-box for the note of recognition from Lord Coe; we had asked him not to mention us in his closing speech on Sunday, not wanting to take all the credit!  We congratulated our medal winners, Jane (gold, with Sue R) and Gill (silver).  Nunney were the China of our awards table, we were more, well, Australia? Next time, we'll co-opt Mo as an honorary member!

The video of our Synchronised Tea Drinking is on You Tube, just do a search for that or Leigh on Mendip WI. Be sure to hit the 'like' button! We'll show the DVD of the whole event at one of our meetings in the Autumn!

September promises to be a busy month, beginning with lunch at The Bell on the first Friday at 12.15. It's also our programme planning month, so start racking your brains for good ideas for speakers and activities.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Ladies who lunch....

.......  had a lovely time today at The Bell Inn! Lunch was good and the conversation covered just about every topic you can think of, well, perhaps we didn't mention religion?
We all walked there, too, so can clock up the miles on our Big Walk Little Splash effort!
Next date Friday 7 September at The Bell Inn. 12.15

We've had information about the next Real Jam Festival to be held at Denman  College; so I have two thoughts on this! One, we must organise another alternative Jam Festival for Leigh, because it was good fun last time! And Two, the one at Denman is on 1 & 2 December and incorporates a Christmas market as well. How about going up there for one of those days? It would be a good chance to visit Denman and look, with wonder and awe at the skill of the real jam makers and do a spot of Christmas shopping. Sounds like a good plan to me. Have a look in your diary to see if you are free on Saturday 1 December and let me know if you want to come!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Calling all WI film buffs!

The cinema in Wells is offering special rates for WI members at specific times! It was mentioned in a recent issue of County News and yesterday Eileen mentioned that she and her husband had turned up to the first event... And was surprised to find that she was the only WI member there!

She said the next date planned is Friday 10 August; day time and shared with U3A at the moment. You  need your WI membership card to get the discount. I shall contact Eileen for a few more details, in case any Leigh members would like to go along.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

ACWW day at Binegar

What a fabulous day! Marguerite, Sue V and I went to Eileen Hurd's day at Binegar village hall which she organised to celebrate the Association of Country Women of the World. The speakers in the morning were excellent, so passionate about the work they do; one is a UN delegate and has visited many ACWW projects since she joined in 2007 (at the age of 75!) she gave such an insight into the lives of the women who live in Belarus. Next came Kay, who has been actively involved with the Wells charity to aid the children of Chernobyl. She has welcomed 6 children into her home over the years and has visited Belarus to help run a play scheme in the summer holidays. Both of their talks were entertaining, amusing and very touching.
We are so very lucky to live where we do and to  have the freedom we have.

In the afternoon an Oxford geologist gave a very interesting description of Iceland with photos he had taken during a recent holiday.

A very interesting and thought provoking day, very well organised by Eileen, well attended and well hosted by Binegar W.I.  thank you all.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Record breaking July!

What a stunning month we've had so far! On the starting blocks was a very civilised lunch at two cafes in Mells.... Swiftly followed by one of the most entertaining and amusing speakers we've enjoyed at our Monday meeting, culminating in last night's Frome Group Olympic Warm-Up. What a fantastic evening! It began with a parade around the lovely field at Beckington village hall. The team of honed athletes walked in their Institutes behind their banners. (Congratulations to Nunney on having such a beautiful and expertly created banner), waving to the spectators with 'Chariots of Fire' playing in the background! Then the events began! We were treated to a Gold Medal performance of synchronised swimming by Nunney. They were pioneering the new greener way of demonstrating their skills on grass instead of requiring the high cost option of a pool. Wellie throwing, bash the rat and the egg and spoon race were all hotly contested. athletes could be seen limbering up, making their own personal preparations in order to give a peak performance. The bronze medal winner of the crochet event was a late entry, only learned the technique very recently by reading about it in a library book and borrowing a crochet hook. All very testing and challenging these athletes to the very limits of endurance. The final race was the dressing up relay where the super-star sports women were required to walk a course, putting on various items of clothing and then removing them on the return journey. Very testing indeed for the second player who had to unravel the clothes before they could don them! Here we had two heats and a fiercely contested final, with some very competitive teams! Before the athletes adjourned for a much needed meal, 5 ladies from Leigh on Mendip gave a demonstration of the new sport which will doubtless be included in the 2016 Olympics: Synchronised Tea Drinking, accompanied by the Tommy Dorsey Band playing the Tea for Two cha cha cha. Following a lovely ploughman's meal, we were treated to the awards ceremony. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded amid much applause and the sound of many camera shutters! Every participant was awarded a union flag chocolate lolly as a memento of the games! What a wonderful evening! Thank you very much to Caroline and Mary for organising the whole event, to Beckington Berkely and Standerwick for being such marvellous hosts and to the Nunney member who kindly made all of the medals - and to everyone who came up with the ideas and the enthusiasm! It was fun!

Friday, 6 July 2012

We know how to live.....

Four of us turned up in Mells today for a delicious lunch at the cafe which adjoins the post office in Mells. Once we had finished our meal we decided to wander up the road to the cafe in the garden nursery, situated next to Mells Barn. What a delightful setting, beautifully arranged and laid out along the 'up-cycling', vintage themes with lovely flowers and both indoor and outside seating for those wishing to partake of the cafe facilities. (which, of course, we did!) Next month we'll have lunch together at The Bell in our village, as the new chef has arrived! 12.30, Friday 3 August. Looking forward to it!

Antiques supper at Standerwick

Last evening Val and I went along to Standerwick for an unusual and very entertaining evening. I was expecting to eat a meal and then listen to a speaker describing his life in the antiques business. Wrong! We did indeed have a lovely meal (pork chop & veg, all locally sourced and a scrummy pavlova or chocolate torte) and we enjoyed the very good company of 6 members from Chewton Mendip WI around our table. The speaker provided antiques for us to look at and we had a series of questions to answer about each one. (work to do, indeed!) it was absolutely fascinating, and what a privilege to be able to handle so many old, interesting and valuable items! One table had the cheapest and the most expensive puzzles to solve! Their marrow spoon (not for scooping the vegetable type of marrow, it was for bone marrow!) was old but worth only £6. The brooch, very small, just a thin gold strip with 3 white stones turned out to be worth £6,000, (I observed two things at this point: one, all the doors were closed and two, he didn't divulge the value until he had that brooch back in his possession!) It was very interesting, we learnt a great deal about antiques along the way and had great fun! Well worth the ticket price indeed!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Friday 6 July lunch

We'll meet at Mells Post Office cafe for our lunch, at 12.30. The weather just doesn't look conducive to a walk around the village beforehand! We'll do the walk next time!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Breaking News.......!

I've just received information following the planting of our Jubilee Oak Tree:
Just thought you might like to know that the WI oak is in the process of giving birth!!!
I spotted some tiny acorns on it the other day.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Speakers show their skills!

This week Barbara went along to Westonzoyland to listen to a range of speakers who took the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of WI members, thinking of programme planning for 2013! There were 14 speakers throughout the day, and, according to Barbara, some well worth considering during our planning session on 17 September.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Field for the British Isles

Yesterday was fabulous! We went to Barrington Court to see the Field for the British Isles, Antony Gormley's spectacular work which is exhibited in three of the rooms there. Those thousands of faces, all looking up at me, gave me a strong feeling of optimism and a great confidence in the future with so many people all working together towards a common goal. Tom, a science fiction fan, saw it more as an alien and not necessarily friendly group! Over a delicious cheese scone and a pot of tea, our peace and quiet was shattered by the arrival of a party of women. Some of them were not best pleased with the arrangements for their visit... and they were very voluble! I made a note to myself to remember this and always try to avoid shouting out arrangements and instructions when we go on a visit! There was nothing to indicate they were WI, just a group of women of a certain age! Looked to me as if they required a spot more fun going on!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Village Fair, our produce stall

Thank you very much to everyone (including husbands and daughters!)who contributed to our lovely produce stall at the fair today! Especially to Val who masterminded the whole thing, and who attended the meetings to set it all up. I thought how well everything went, despite the best efforts of the wind. Congratulations to all of the organisers for all of their hard work. Let's hope the people who came along to support us managed to spend lots of money! There were plenty of happy faces, so I'm sure everyone had a good time!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Jubilee meeting 11 June

What a fabulous Jubilee meeting we had last night! So many red, blue and white garments! How fabulous everyone looked! Our speaker was very interesting, and told us a great deal about piers in England (did you know that Ryde pier, on the Isle of Wight was the first in the world?) and lots more about the history of the pier at Weston super Mare. Coincidentally, it was opened on 11 June 1904! Well done to Val for booking him on 11 June! And then we moved to our refreshments.... Margaret provided an inspired Jubilee tea: with cucumber and salmon sandwiches, cut into tiny, dainty triangles, slices of Swiss roll and carrot cake. Thank you! We all really enjoyed it! June F and Margaret wore Union Flag tiaras to serve us, too! An exquisite touch! This is what I love about being in the WI: you make a suggestion and everyone responds in a brilliant way! Didn't we have a great time?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Leigh on Mendip Jubilee Oak Tree

Today at 6pm we planted our oak tree to celebrate our Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It saw the end of four days of Jubilee commemoration in the village. Bunting and flags adorn various gates and houses. Julian and the team of bellringers heralded the start of the celebrations on Saturday and Bryan at The Bell Inn organised a whole Monday of fun and festivities, (and chose a good, dry day!) Caroline, Liz, Fran and Anthea organised a four day Flower Festival in St Giles Church and in Downhead Church. St Giles hosted very creative and imaginative displays representing each decade of the 60 years, from a crown, orb and sceptre, to the miner's strike, channel tunnel and the Olympics. A group of very talented villagers worked very hard to make such a fabulous display. Downhead church was filled with a beautiful display of flowers with a wonderful atmosphere and scent. There was also a marvellous exhibition of craft in the Memorial Hall organised by Vicki. So many visitors were heard to remark: what a lot of talent is in this village! Many photos were taken, and a video film of the Flower Festival .... Perhaps we should have a display of the Jubilee photos somewhere?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Somerset Federation W.I. At the Bath & West

Yesterday the weather was perfect for a day at the Royal Bath & West Show! I went along to help at the WI refreshment tent, which is on the village green. In exchange for my 4 hours' work behind the counter, I received my entry ticket and had plenty of time to have a wander around the show. I met some lovely WI members: Kate from Milborne Port, Gill and Maggie from Croscombe and had a chance to have a chat with Carol, our County Chair, who was there all day. We were busy throughout, and especially hectic over lunch and afternoon tea time. Everything was so well organised and planned, that it was very easy to simply slot in to the routine! The flower tent was spectacular! I can't wait to visit our very own flower festival today in the Memorial Hall! A couple of people asked me about it, so the advertising has clearly been working!

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Wednesday 30th May - National A.G.M.

This year's AGM was held at the Royal Albert Hall, and I travelled there on the day by train. The weather was fabulous and I had plenty of time to wander from the underground station, via the spectacular Albert memorial to the venue. As you can see from the photo (sorry about the quality!) we had an excellent view of proceedings, and were able to see the speakers easily. Joining with 5,000 voices to sing Jerusalem was absolutely tremendous! How we filled that hall with our lovely singing, accompanied by the marvellous Royal Albert Hall organ!
Ruth Bond is an excellent speaker, so passionate about her role as WI National President; it was very inspiring listening to her throughout the day. She described a typical day, including one incident when she was in M & S buying underwear when the Minister for Education rang her mobile!

Thanks to the resolutions WI members have supported in the past, Ruth and the Trustees spend a great deal of time meeting with industry leaders, government ministers, charity workers... the list goes on. They had some success to report on the the Care not Custody campaign, which has made a big impact on recent legislation and secured financial support, and on the Save our Libraries campaign.
They are launching an updated website on which each Federation and each individual institute will be able to have their own pages; we'll be able to share much more of what is going on at grass roots level! Now that's what I call progress! Exciting!
Denman College has not had a good year financially; they need more students! The Do it for Denman initiative last year raised £54,000 - can we do it again this year, please?
The speakers were fascinating and very entertaining: Julian Fellowes (who won an Oscar for writing Gosford Park. He also wrote Downton Abbey) and the scientist Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock, such an enthusiastic ambassador for girls becoming scientists.

The debate about midwives: The NFWI calls on the government to increase investment in the training, employment and retention of midwives in England and Wales to ensure services are adequately resourced and are able to deliver a high standard of care.
We heard an impassioned speech from the proposer, a midwife member of Horwich WI and  from the President of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) who explained the difficulties facing them.
A minister from the department of Health put the case against the motion, making reference to a lot of very interesting statistics. He completely omitted to mention the funding issues!
When the debate was thrown open to the floor, there were comments from people who had nothing but high praise for the care they had received in their personal experience, several comments from women who had been trained as midwives and had moved on to other areas of health care, all asking where the extra funding is to be found? Will it be diverted from cancer patients? those with alzheimers/ and so on. The president of the RCM was asked directly when did she expect the finding to come from? I didn't feel she answered the question. Other comments were in support of the proposer, describing the almost impossible situation in which midwives are expected to work.
The vote was (roughly!) 5,000 for the motion and 200 against!

After lunch, those of us willing to have a go, (some just sat and watched... how dull!) took part in the Guinness Book of Records challenge to have people knitting together in one place for 15 minutes! You probably read about it in an earlier issue of WI Life, showing us the pattern for making knitted chains. It is in connection with the Craft Club who hava a project at Greenwich where children are building a boat from recycled materials. Our efforts have provided the anchor chains! There may be a photo in County News, as my neighbour (also from Somerset) took several photos! Apparently it takes about 3 months before we know if we broke the record!

And finally we had a treat! Four members of the BBC TV programme Strictly Come Dancing came to dance for us: Kristina & Robin and Kara & Artem. They were great!
having lunch!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Monday's craft day... More people!

We spent a very productive day on Monday after the community coffee morning, working away on our crafts. It's growing now; two of us concentrating on sorting out those old photographs, there is a lovely rag rug appearing before our very eyes, some bunting and a simply gorgeous little mouse being knitted! I've laid down a challenge to see a hand sewn patchwork bedspread at a future event, and I know there are at least two more people keen to come along if they are free! Next date set for a month's time, after the community coffee morning, starting at 11 o'clock and finishing at 4. Bring your own craft and lunch, tea and coffee provided! Monday 18 June. We share the cost of hiring the hall between us. Call in for a cup of tea if you would like to see what goes on!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Resolutions meeting, May.

Last night's meeting was very thought provoking and a lot of fun!

Are you interested in attending any of the following events? We need to know immediately!
Monday evening 2 July visit to Milton Lodge gardens, partners or friends welcome. £9.
Thursday evening 5 July 'Antiques Supper' two course supper and talk at Standerwick, £19.50.
Day trip to Denman College in the Autumn.

The discussion we had about the proposed 'More Midwives' campaign was very thought provoking and, frankly, extremely difficult to decide. Several people abstained but in the end the majority vote was against the motion. This was based on the evidence we see everyday on the lack of funding in every aspect of the health service. If we put the might of the NFWI into pressing for more midwives, which other health areas will suffer? The elderly? Those with diabetes? People who have suffered a stroke? The list is endless, and we all agreed that we would not like to have to make those decisions. It will be interesting to hear the results of the discussion at the AGM at the Albert Hall, where health professionals and campaigners will be putting their cases.

A spot of light relief was found after refreshments when we listened to the stories about the beautiful items members had brought to show. We had 2 gorgeous family photos, a patchwork quilt, some gold work embroidery, a coil pot, a handmade box, a knitted patterned sweater (I almost feel the need to say 'a cuddly toy' here!) a photograph album and a 'proddy' rag rug cushion. I'm sorry that I forgot to take any photos, the display was stunning. The conversations about them all were very interesting too, showing another side of each speaker. Thank you everyone for showing us - I really enjoyed it!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Pub meal very enjoyable!

Seven of us met at The Duke of Cumberland in Holcombe for a very tasty and sociable lunch. We thought that perhaps next time we would walk over there.... And maybe get a lift back afterwards if someone else has driven over! Weather permitting, of course! How about 8th June? Then, if the walk and lunch works well, we could walk around Mells in July and lunch in one of the cafes there. This will also add to our Big Walk Little Splash miles.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Our visit to "Cook" in Wells

All of the freezers had a very smart jacket on, as you can see behind Mary & Jean!

This was when we tasted the moroccan spicy lamb tagine!

Brett, who runs the shop - clearing away lots of empty dishes!
Seven of us went over to visit the Cook shop in Wells this evening. We were treated to some really gorgeous tastes of a range of their dishes, accompanied by a couple of delicious soft drinks. First we tried a couple of their galettes, then two moroccan tagines: spiced lamb and vegetable & chick pea. Finally, a slice of rich lemon tart, which was divine and a square of milionnaire's shortcake. All of the dishes are cooked from fresh, local ingredients in the kitchens in Cook's Kent head office. There are no additives or preservatives, everything is as if it was home made. It's really worth a visit to have a good look through the choices, or have a look on line at www.cookfood.net. They will deliver - so we thought we might let each other know when we're going over, or placing an order, to see if anyone else wants something. Saturday 19th May is a tasting day - put it in your diary! Thank you Sandra for organising it!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Intrepid Women of Leigh on Mendip WI Walk the World!

Today, despite the inclement weather, we took part in the world wide event organised by the Association of Country Women Worldwide. Walks took place in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, North America and .... Leigh on Mendip. To show solidarity with other women across the world and to raise some funds for the projects undertaken by the Association. Currently we are assisting the Water for All campaign. (which was very appropriate today, considering that one of the footpaths was blocked by a flood!). We ended our walk, perhaps somewhat curtailed thanks to the incessant rain, at the Memorial Hall with a lovely cup of tea and some gorgeous cake! Thank you Mary & Gill and to Caroline, Jan and Sue. A lovely afternoon! It was a good day to have begun our Big Walk Little Splash challenge, too, when you think about it!
Here we are, all ready to walk!

The first stile... still smiling!

.....and back at the Hall, a bit wet around the edges!
Have a look at the ACWW website for more information: http://www.acww.org.uk/  or look at their Facebook group which shows many photos of the women taking part!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

April walk at Evercreech

Barbara joined about 25 other WI members for a  walk last Thursday. Here's her account:
It was disappointing that I was on my own but guessed I would chat to someone and in true WI friendship style, that was the case. 
I dressed up warm because it was a cold day. I thought 'I can easily take something off if I get hot'. I hadn't expected a route march where you don't stop! It spoilt it a bit because it was hard to find time to photograph the lovely views and stop for a drink or take a jumper off. 
The instructions said 5 stiles but it was more like 10-15  I lost count. 1 stile was really tricky and members had trouble getting over. 
However we got back to the pub in time for lunch where we had very good food. Then 12 members set off for another 3 mile walk. I went home and collapsed on the settee with a cup of tea!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Spring Roadshow at Henton! Lots of fun!

Chris Sperring and Beau, a beautiful (and aptly named!) barn owl.

We were very interested in Chris's talk about his conservation work in Somerset, but Beau slept through most of it!

In the morning Carole Smith, County Chair, told us all about the wide variety of activities and events available to us as members of Somerset Federation. Each committee gave a brief and amusing description of the work they do for us.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Demi Ladwa's cookery at Hemington WI's last event

Eight members from Leigh joined a packed hall at Faulkland for the final meeting of Hemington WI. The speaker was Demi Ladwa, who gave a fascinating talk and demonstration of Indian cookery. She made a delicious potato dish and onion bhajis - enough for all 60 of us to have a taste!
Potato curry
2 large Desiree potatoes, peeled and diced into small chunks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli power or 1/2 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp coriander-cumin powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2tbs sunflower or vegetable oil
1/2 tin tomatoes or fresh tomatoes

Heat oil in large saucepan until hot. Add mustard and cumin seeds, wait to hear them make a popping sound. Place a lid on the pan whilst this happens.
Add the potatoes and stir. Add salt, chilli powder, turmeric and stir for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat until the potatoes are half cooked. Add tomatoes, coriander and a little water. Cook until the potatoes are done.

Add more chilli powder if you prefer the curry to be hot.
Use this method to cook any vegetables.

Onion Bahjis
6-8oz gram flour (chick pea flour, available in most big supermarkets)
Salt to taste
2 large onions
1/2 - 1 tsp chilli powder or garlic paste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Optional: fresh chillies
Fresh coriander
Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep frying

Peel and thinly slice the onions. Sieve the gram flour and add salt, chilli, coriander powder and mix well. Gradually add hand hot water and keep mixing until you have a soft but thick batter. Add onions and mix well until they are coated.
Heat the oil over a medium heat, test to see if it has reached the right temperature by dropping a little of the batter in. If it rises quickly to the top, the oil is ready. If it goes dark brown or black, the oil is too hot! Drop small amounts ( a teaspoonful or less) into the oil. Cook until golden brown all over. Lift out carefully and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve as a starter or snack. Can be frozen.

Add spinach to the mix, or any other veg.

Add your comment when you have tried the recipes!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Another successful village clean-up!

2012 collection
Once again, many villagers came out to help clear the rubbish from our lanes and streets! Thank you very much to everyone! There were plenty of children helping, too; all ending up at the Memorial Hall for tea and cakes.
It was interesting to notice that some areas had less litter than in previous years, but very sad to see how much waste has been dumped in the lanes around the village. (big lumps of plaster, blocks of cement and broken paving stones, old rabbit hutches, lots of soiled cat litter and many, many plastic bags of dog waste). This is clearly in part as a result of the changes at Coleford tip. A very sorry sight indeed.
What can we do? Inform our local and county council - and ask people to stop throwing their rubbish in the streets and lanes. We don't want it!
2011 collection - considerably less!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

March meeting and a visit to the Strawberry Line

Our meeting on Monday was most interesting and informative; we listened to Ken Holdsworth who told us about his work with the charity for the homeless, Crisis. He began volunteering with them at Christmas 1986, so he had plenty of experience to draw on. He is committed to the charity and spoke passionately about it.
Linda made some absolutely gorgeous chocolate brownies for us.... Wonderful!

Tonight, Sandra and I went to visit Cranmore WI, the Strawberry Line. They had an open evening and had sent out an invitation to WIs in the area. The speaker was inspiring! She told us how she feeds her family, friends and a local restaurant from her vegetable garden and allotment - in addition to having a full time job and three teenagers! She follows a 'no dig', organic method which is clearly very effective and efficient. She had plenty of photos and examples of her produce to show us. We both came away determined to adopt her approach.... Time will tell!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Women's Day Event 8th March

What an excellent day! Eileen Hurd & her team organised another thought provoking and very enjoyable event. We heard from two charities who work to improve the lives of women in Africa, India and Sri Lanka. Created and African Initiatives. The talk from a worker at the women's refuge in Yeovil was full of quite shocking facts: 1 in 4 women are victims of violence or abuse at home(1 in 6 men), human trafficking and female genital mutilation continues in this country. Any help we can offer them, especially in the way of vouchers, will be very useful.
We went for a walk to Long Sutton village green and took part in a treasure hunt around the church yard. what a beautiful church! Built in the 1400s with an intricately carved wooden pulpit, it really is worth a visit.
In the afternoon I described our Let's Cook Local course and the treasurer of ACWW spoke to us about their work.

Friday, 2 March 2012

The last few days......

Hazel, Caroline & I spent a very productive evening on some rag rug "prodding"! Some rather beautiful items were created, just in the space of an hour or so. The prospect of making a whole rug in this way really isn't too daunting.

Today 4 of us met at The Bell for a very enjoyable and sociable lunch time. We were extremely well organised and booked our meals in advance. Unfortunately it still took an absolute age for the food to arrive. However, the pub is going to open during the day as a tea room, serving morning coffee and afternoon tea as well as lunch.... So perhaps for our next month's effort we could sample afternoon tea on Friday 13th or 20th April? What do you think?

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Buckland Dinham WI host an Excellent Group Meeting!

Last night we went along to the February Group Meeting at Buckland Dinham village hall. We enjoyed an interesting quiz (which our table managed to win!), listened to an article and poem about the washing line which clearly brought back many memories for lots of the audience, and we were treated to a tasty home made soup. The photo supplied by a Leigh member came third in the competition.
Our speaker was a student at Writhlington school, aged 18, very enthusiastic, confident and knowledgeable about the orchids he had been helping to look after in the green houses at Writhlington School.  He showed us some beautiful photos they had taken on their trip last year to Laos.  They have been involved in a project to assist a local couple to create an area for orchids to thrive and provide an income from the tourist trade, rather than allowing them to disappear during deforestation and the illegal collection for use in chinese medicines.
For more information take a look at the website:
you will find the dates of their open days and information about the world orchid congress which they are hosting in October this year.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Let's Cook Local!

As you can see, we had another successful session! We made shepherds's pie, vegetable curry with rice and chocolate brownies.  You can see that we have a normal sized cooker to work on, so it's been quite a challenge sometimes to work out how to get the quantities required all cooked and ready to eat at 1 o'clock!
We've reached the stage of having to do very little of the preparation ourselves, it's all over to the Mums. This week we had enough time to talk about food storage, sell by dates and how to avoid wasting food as well as sharing ideas on how to use up left overs. Next week: soup, macaroni cheese and fruit crumble!

Friday, 24 February 2012

February meeting was a Silky Success!

Here is a selection of some of the photos Barbara took. You can see how engrossed we all were! Everyone produced a really lovely painting, and had a great time!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Rag Rug Workshop, 16th February at Wilton Lodge

Here we all are, working away! There was plenty to do, all engrossing, and some time to chat!

This is what I made:  a "prodded" lavender bag (you can see the "prodder"  - a wooden stick, like a pencil) and a "hooked" sample with the "hooker" ( a crochet hook).
Our tutor, Debbie Hastings was very experienced and had plenty of examples of her work to show us. Pretty much everything she uses is recycled; mainly duvet covers and pillow cases which she buys in bulk from her local Devon Hospice charity shop, after they have been in the shop for a while and remain unsold. The "hooked" sample above was made using old T shirts. (She may have had an eye on the orange one I was wearing!). The fabrics are cut up into strips which are then inserted into the hessian backing, with some quite spectacular results - well, with a little practice!
An excellent day - we all put our names down for her next course!

And here is the finished lavender bag! A very easy and enjoyable occupation!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Let's Cook Local - second session

We were so much better prepared this time! Without any worries about the snow and ice to get in the way! Slight set back when we arrived... Only one of the young Mums was there! Oh no! Too much food! Luckily more came along a little later, including a new member - so all went well! We cooked potato wedges, a variety of meatballs, salsa and a lovely sweetheart cabbage, which was so very tasty that one of the little girls came and asked for more! Barbara organised flapjacks to follow, which disappeared in a flash!
While it was cooking we swapped ideas for leftovers and store cupboard staples; there were some excellent ideas and lots of questions, so that proved to be a very useful session.
Afterwards we came back and planned the next few sessions over a coffee - a thoroughly enjoyable day.
Lots of thanks to Barbara, June, Ann and Sue for their stirling support.

June and Catherine prepare the salsa

Barbara showed us all how to chop an onion.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

National Libraries Day 4th February

 Well, the library in Frome was cheerfully decorated with brightly coloured bunting, lots of smiling faces and it was  pretty crowded when I called in!
On checking out my books, I was given a lovely poem which had been specially written to celebrate the day and a copy of the new opening times:
9.30 - 5.30 Monday to Thursday, 9.30 - 7.00 on Friday and 9.30 - 4.00 on Saturday!

Hooray! Let's keep on using it!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ladies who lunch....!

We spent another very enjoyable Friday lunchtime at The Bell Inn! (Feb 2nd) The food was nice, 'though it did take a long time to appear! We had plenty to talk about while we were waiting!
Our next date is 2nd March and we'll book and order in advance!
looking forward to seeing you there! (I'll e mail everyone beforehand)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Let's Cook Local has started!

What a fabulous start to our first Let's Cook Local course!
We set off this morning, each feeling a little apprehensive! What had we got ourselves involved with?
No need to worry! The staff at the Key Centre were very welcoming and our 6 young Mums very interested, friendly and willing to get on with everything! Their children played in the crèche next door while the pizzas, green salad and fruit was prepared. There were a few too many people trying to get to the sink sometimes, yet we achieved it all admirably.
When it was all ready, the children joined us to tuck in; they were very cute and extremely well behaved.
Thanks to Ann, Barbara, June & Sue we left everything spic and span, ready for our next session.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Birthday Party

We spent a very enjoyable evening at Mary's house to celebrate our 63rd birthday - gorgeous food and lots of fun playing musical bingo! Thank you everyone for your lovely company!

Monday, 23 January 2012

The president's blog....

Can I recommend to you to look at our national president's blog? So relevant and interesting!

Here is an exerpt:

The essence of the WI is bringing women together to find company; to provide opportunities to learn new skills; make a difference within their communities; and possibly above all, be themselves and have fun. Empowerment and education were the original words much used, and the same is true today, but we may go about it in different ways.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Frome Times Person of the Year!

Our very own Gill Baker is one of the nominees for the Frome Times "Person of the Year" 2011 competition!
I just picked up a copy today and there she is, smiling on the front page!
If you would like to vote for her either use the form on page 11 of the paper & submit it, or go to
frometimes.co.uk and simply click on Gill's name!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Let's Cook Local course is set to go!

Our very own Let's Cook Local course will start on Monday, 30th January at the Key Centre in Frome! Sue V, Ann, Barbara and June B will be helping me. The children's centre will recruit the course families and provide staff to run the crèche while we are cooking. As soon as the meal is ready we will all eat together. The aim is for the parents to feel more confident and able to cook healthy meals at home using local fresh produce, economically and with as little waste as possible. The funding has been secured by NFWI from the National Lottery.

Photos of our Christmas meal, December 2011

All of these photos were taken by Caroline!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Our first meeting of 2012 - a great success!

Ben Gait, a local chiropractor came along to tell us how to live well, looking after our health and body. We did some exercises to warm up the spine (which I did again this morning! - a good start!). You can see how to do them by searching  Google for 'Straighten up UK'  - this will lead you to a You tube video showing exactly what to do!
There are plans for a theatre trip, a craft course and our birthday party (more bingo? musical this time!)
We met earlier in the month for lunch at The Bell - to be repeated next month, Friday 3rd February, 12.30 - very sociable!