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.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

WI elves were very busy making Santa - and having a lot of fun meanwhile!

At last night's meeting we had a very interesting and amusing time! There were plenty of laughs and a great deal of success. Father Christmas will most certainly be coming to Leigh on Mendip this year!
Sue R has sent me lots of photos:
                     Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Denman Christmas Fair and Real Jam Festival

What a treat! Caroline and I went to Denman College today to see the festivities and marvel at the entries in the Real Jam festival. The presentation was simply stunning! There were many more entries than last year! It occurred to me to wonder just how many jars of gorgeous home made jam and preserves there must be across the country now? For each one at Denman there must surely be 4 or 5 at home? Wow!
The grounds and the house are quite superb! It was so lovely to spend some time there amongst the pretty decorations, the stalls and lots of visitors.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Three WI events in one day!

The day began early, baking a cake ready for the Church Christmas Fair in the evening. Then six of us went off to the Woolpack in Beckington for a delicious lunch, very tasty and, as usual, excellent conversation and company.
Next, we walked up the road to the Baptist church for the Group Carol Service. It was perfect! The church was lovely, the organist played beautifully and the minister was very friendly and welcoming. He lead the service very sensitively, making short, very relevant comments after each reading. Everyone really enjoyed it.

And finally, we went down to the hall for the church Christmas fair. It was a very sociable evening, with plenty of visitors and lots of lovely refreshments. Thanks to various donations (including some chutney, jam and lemon curd from our honorary member, Richard!) we made £40. Barbara sold  a huge table full of cakes and Caroline's bric a brac stall did well for the flower festival.

A busy and very pleasant day!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

A great beginning to all of our festive events!

Last Saturday saw us taking over the American Museum! It was a fabulous, sunny day and more than 20 WI members with family and friends had a very informal visit to look around the buildings. Each room in the house was beautifully and tastefully decorated for Christmas; this year's theme is engineering, reflected in the sparkling cogs and springs which covered the huge tree in the hall.

Yesterday 20 members enjoyed a very special evening at the Duke of Cumberland in Holcombe. We enjoyed scintillating company, good conversation, great food and a lovely time! Thank you everyone! June B had been over to the Food Bank and let us know how pleased they were to receive our 'Secret Santa' gifts.

Barbara took some photos, which I shall post on here soon.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Another recipe from our bake and share evening

Here is the recipe for Cheese and tomato finger puffs:

2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 tbspn tomato passata
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 180°C

Spread the tomato across one sheet of pastry, to the edge, then sprinkle most of the cheese over. 
Gently lie the other sheet of pastry on top.
Using a sharp knife, gently cut the pastry in half then each half into 12 strips.
Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Serve hot or cold.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Our Secret Santas for the Food Bank

Here is a message from June B, our contact with the  food bank

oh ladies you certainly pushed the boat out with your goodies!!!!!!!   I put them in big open boxes and they looked so lovely glistening red and gold.  I took them over to Warminster this morning and the food bank ladies were thrilled and send you all a big thankyou. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Plot to Pot - no dig gardening was very interesting!

How interesting to hear such a different approach to gardening! No digging, fewer weeds and a much better approach to avoiding plant eating bugs! 
Then we had loads of delicious home baked items to try! Lovely! I shall certainly be trying some of the new recipes! 

Our Bake and Share Recipes.....


4oz (100g) soft margarine
6oz (175g) self raising flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
6oz (175g) caster sugar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon
About 4oz (100g) icing sugar

Heat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas Mk 4.  Grease and line loaf tin.

Measure the all the ingredients for the cake into a processor bowl and mix for a few seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then reprocess for a few seconds.  Put the mixture into the tin.

Bake in the oven for about 45 mins, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a finger.

While cake is baking put lemon juice and icing sugar in a bowl and stir until blended.  When cake comes out of the oven, spread the lemon juice icing over the top whilst still hot.  Leave in the tin to cool.  Turn out.

Oil Chocolate Cake (from Sparks)
This cake, which is mixed in 3 minutes, is really superb. The cake becomes increasingly moist as it is kept, ‘though there is not much chance that you will taste it at its stickiest! Sandwich the cakes together with chocolate buttercream icing.
Preheat oven to: 325F, 170C or gas mark 3.
Grease and flour two 7 inch sandwich tins
Butter and flour to grease cake tins
6 oz plain flour
tbs cocoa powder (I sometimes use custard powder and vanilla extract instead, or coffee)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5 oz sugar
tbs treacle (NB – I find that 1 tbs is enough, and often use golden syrup instead)
2 eggs
5 fl oz vegetable oil
5 fl oz milk
Sift all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir for 2 minutes until evenly blended.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared tins, place into the oven for 40 – 45 minutes. Or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip and have shrunk away from the sides of the tin.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes and turn out on to a wire rack. When completely cool, sandwich together with buttercream icing.

Will this legislation affect our WI campaigns?

Here is a communication from Nicky Venning, the chair of our SCFWI Public Affairs and International committee:

I wrote to you several weeks ago to tell you about the WI’s concerns about the proposed ‘ Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill 2013-2014’ currently going through the House of Lords. This is the bill that has been colloquially termed the Lobbying Bill or the Gagging Act.

Many charities, including the NFWI, have contacted MP’s and Lords with their very serious concerns about the effects the bill, if passed, would have on the work they do.

I am pleased to let you know that as a result of the strength of feeling from Charities, the House of Lords has delayed the progress of the bill for six weeks until December 16th  to ‘allow for further consideration’.

It would be helpful to the WI if you could make your views on this proposed Bill known to either your MP or to a member of the House of Lords as it is important that as many MP’s as possible are aware that charities do not want the legislation to be passed, until it has been redrafted to ensure those charities involved in genuine lobbying; the WI, British Legion, Oxfam etc, will be unaffected.

There was a good article on this in The Independent, last Friday. Here is the link.
The following is a longer paper on the proposed legislation, which may be interesting if you have come late to this controversy.

http://civilsocietycommission.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/civil-society-commission-report-WEB.pdfI apologise if this e-mail address is incorrect, or if this e-mail has come to you in error, please disregard the content if you feel this is the case. 

Nicky Venning
Chair, Public Affairs and International
01749 677394

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Somerset Annual Meeting in Yeovil

Five of us spent the day at the SCFWI Annual Meeting in Yeovil today. The hall was jam packed full of Somerset WI members and there were eye catching displays from each of the county committees, showing what a wide range of activities are available to us. An overwhelming number of shoe boxes had been filled for the Bridgwater and Glastonbury YMCA, there was a delightful variety of decorated  T shirts to admire as well as the usual trading post stall and tempting produce from the WI markets. You may want to save the last weekend of October 2014 so that you can participate in the Somerset Federation visit to Denman College. They have a very varied and enticing range of courses on offer for us.
In the morning we listened to talks from some very inspiring Somerset WI members describing what they have achieved this year through the WI. We also heard from Janice Langley, the NFWI chair about the plans for an inclusive 2015 centenary AGM and celebration, which sounds like a lot of fun.
We shall also be able to participate in Somerset's celebrations to mark the centenary: 'Alice in WI Land' which promises to give a lot of laughs!
The top two T shirts! 

Friday, 1 November 2013

November lunch date....

....... was a great success! The Mendip Inn provided lovely food for us, spacious surroundings and we, of course, supplied the excellent company and scintillating conversation. Lots of fun, too!

The first Friday in December will be the day of the group Carol Service in Beckington, so can I suggest that we have our lunch at the Woolpack in Beckington? If we met there at 12, we would be in plenty of time to walk up to the Baptist church for the 2 o'clock service. I would like to book this in advance, so please let me know by our next meeting if you would like to join the lunch party!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Plenty to remember in November....

Here is an aide-memoire for November's meeting:
You need to bring with you:-
Your cheque and choices for our Christmas meal on Tuesday 3 December (look at your emails for details)
Your payment of £7 for the visit to the American museum
Your Secret Santa gift for the Food Bank
Your contribution to our 'bake and share' evening, where we bring a favourite recipe, baked and cut into small squares so that others can try it.  (Savoury or sweet) To accompany it, bring a copy of the recipe which will be put here, on the blog.

It may be that our speaker brings items for sale - when I saw her speak at Cranmore she had some publications, plants and produce for sale; so you may wish to bring some cash just in case!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

An intriguing evening!

This month's WI meeting didn't go according to plan as we had to call in a replacement speaker at very short notice. We also had a rather long business section as there were so many dates to note down and decisions to make. We have so many events and activities to choose from!
Graham Harris gave us a fascinating insight into the genealogical research he has been involved in. Not only has he been hidden away for hours in front of his computer screen, searching the internet for clues and information; he has spent countless hours in cemeteries and church yards poring over grave stones, studying OS maps and yet more days travelling about looking for evidence of where his subjects lived. This last activity has involved talking to villagers and visiting their homes, uncovering memories and evidence of who and what went before.
Each piece of evidence uncovered seems to lead to more questions... Truly an engrossing and engaging undertaking.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A memorable evening at Nunney

The Autumn Group Meeting at Nunney last night was one of the best! We were entertained by the Frome Ukelele Club, who played songs we all knew and could sing, clap and tap our feet to! It was fun and the room was full of smiling faces!
The entertainment by Nunney WI was a song from two moustachioed Wild West cowboys accompanied by a squaw and a line of saloon girls. Once again, we all joined in with the chorus! Fabulous!

The competition judge was extremely kind and placed my cake joint third with another tambourine cake which was much more elegantly decorated (i.e. It actually looked like a tambourine!). In second place was a colourful xylophone and the winning grand piano was exquisite! Accurate in every detail, right down to the sheet of music entitled 'Jerusalem'!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Competition cake?

Brief: a musical instrument cake maximum size:  12" x 12" x 12"
Any guesses?
I think we really need to concentrate on recruiting an experienced cake maker and decorater to our WI !

Friday, 4 October 2013

Another lovely lunchtime with friends!

Today, seven of us met at The Knatchbull in Stoke St. Michael for our monthly WI lunch. Two of us - intrepid, hardy types, walked there, despite the heavy rain which began to fall the moment we set off! It was lovely to catch up on holidays and see a new face amongst us! Welcome, Karen!
As usual, the conversation was lively and the company excellent!
Our next lunch will be on Friday 1 November, shall we try The Mendip Inn?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Did you realise that.....

......our speaker at the group Meeting in Nunney on Tuesday 8 October is not a speaker but
The Ukelele Band!
Have a re think about whether or not you would like to come along! It promises to be a really good evening! Don't miss out! 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Somerset Federation 95th Birthday

At Woodlands Castle near Taunton today a large group of WI members gathered to celebrate 95 years of the Somerset Federation of WIs. We arrived during persistent rain, which meant we could only look at the beautiful gardens. No-one wanted to go out in case the rather sumptuous hats and outfits were spoiled! Our Chair, Margaret Bigg, welcomed us and we all toasted the 95th anniversary. Then we sat down to a delightful afternoon tea, served on china cake stands and eaten from delicate china plates. The cake was decorated with Cheddar Pinks made from sugar! Quite fantastic! The company was excellent and a good time was had by all.

Programme for 2014

Last evening we had a very successful time and came to totally unanimous decisions on every topic discussed! Everyone had time to air their views and we were all in complete agreement on next year's  WI timetable and programme. It promises to be a very varied and lively series of meetings, with a couple of visits and a bonus visit for this year!
We were trying to think of a good venue, with plenty of things to do and see ( + a café!) and came up with the American Museum in Bath. Val mentioned that their Christmas displays are spectacular so we were trying to find a date in November 2014 which would suit.... and  all of a sudden Mary suggested 'why not do it this year?' Which seemed like an excellent idea!
So,  if you would like to go, too, set aside Saturday 30 November 2013, leaving here at around 11. If we have a group of 15 the cost will be £7 - so we could take along friends and family to boost numbers. They have a café where we could have lunch (pay for that on top of the £7) and then wander round as we please.  For fewer than 15, the cost is £8 for over 60s and £9 for everyone else.
Please let me know if you wish to join the party.

Dave Crisp and the Frome Hoard

What a great evening! We were very pleased to welcome guests from our village and several local WIs to hear all about how Dave Crisp discovered the Frome Hoard of Roman coins. It was fascinating to hear how it all works, the legalities and the history of Dave's finds. It really does create a firm link with the people who walked here before us.

Monday, 2 September 2013

We have just enjoyed lunch at The Bell Inn!

Today turned out to be another lovely sunny one! Perfect for a walk and a very sociable and enjoyable lunch together! We caught up on all the latest news and started to think about the musical instrument - themed cake which one of our members (we hope) will make for the Autumn Group Meeting on 8 October. We are looking forward to Monday's meeting and it seems that lots of invitations have been issued to family and friends. There were some really good ideas suggested, too, for the programme planning meeting on16 September, so it looks as if we'll have plenty of discussion and some decisions to make that night.
Next WI lunch will be on Friday 4 October and we'll ring the changes by going to the Knatchbull Arms in Stoke St Michael. Weather permitting, I think I shall walk there!

Here we are, the first Friday of September is already looming into view!
Are you free and able to meet at the pub, 12.15 for 12.30 lunch? Please let me know by Wednesday so that I can book a table for us. Check out the lunch time menu on The Bell Inn website: (thebellinnleigh.co.uk) in addition to the usual baguette and chips, they also do a range of filled jacket potatoes! Several people last time chose the smoked salmon option from the main menu starters which looked really good!
There are two of us so far!

Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Frome Hoard!

Only a week or so to go before our fabulous open meeting on Monday 9 September!
We're looking forward to hearing all about how that magnificent stash of Roman coins was discovered in a field very near here!
We are also looking forward to welcoming everyone who is interested to find out more about local history, or perhaps there are a few folks out there who have some extra time on their hands, looking for a new hobby? Come along and find out more!
Dave Crisp will certainly give a very fascinating talk, so don't miss out!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Glorious Twelfth!

What a delightful evening! Thank you to everyone who came along, with a gorgeous selection of food and drink to share. No rain this year, and everyone looked stunning, a real Southern Belles evening, with tasty Mint Julep for authenticity!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Our visit to the Willow and Wetlands centre

What a lovely day we spent together at the Willow and Wetlands Centre in Stoke St Gregory! Sue R, Sue V, Jan P, Caroline, Val and I had a very relaxing and interesting day. Some of us wandered along one of the wetlands trails (and back again quite quickly in order to arrive in time for lunch!). The museum and furniture displays were fascinating, and it was a revelation to discover just how much willow has been used in everyday life since production increased around 1900. Both world wars saw huge increase in demand for willow items - seats for WWI aeroplanes and baskets to transport pigeons in particular.  During our guided tour we saw a huge pile of enormous hampers which are being made for Fortnum and Mason's, there were also some large chess pieces which had been made for the Olympics - alongside a chess board, they formed one of the jumps in the show jumping arena!
Is this where I find the water closet?

This caption made us chuckle! 

We began the day with a cup of coffee in the café!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Amazing Estonian Women!

We had a first hand view of five Estonian WI equivalent groups today at the ACWW event in Binegar. Valerie Stevens, a well travelled and experienced member of ACWW told us of her stay in Estonia, where she was warmly welcomed by five separate women's groups, which each looked after her for a day. They introduced her to local dignitaries, showed her around schools where she enjoyed several dance displays and took part in an English language lesson. The sense of community is very strong and the creative skills used to the full. In every WI hall there was a spinning wheel and loom alongside knitted, crocheted and felted items of all descriptions. The looms are used to weave the fabric for the traditional costumes they make for their dancing and to wear when they sell their produce at the market. There was always  someone who could speak English to help her understand and talk to everyone. In Tallin, the capital, she was particularly struck by the museum of occupation.  No! Not weavers and miners, but a history of the times their country has been occupied: by Russia, Sweden, Germany...
The day started with an excellent cookery demonstration and talk by Bini Ludlow, of Sweet Cumin and of recent fame on the Good Food Show. Her talk was very informative and appealed strongly to the senses as she showed us colourful photos of her visit to India as well as cooking a delicious smelling chicken dish - which one lucky person won in the raffle! Bini has a cooking school and is based near Ston Easton. She had prepared some very tasty samosas for us to sample.

The last speaker is a very inspiring lady, Kathy Miller,  who did some voluntary teaching 13 years ago in a school for 80 boys who had suffered polio and whose parents were unable to care for them at home. She has returned each year and has set up The Neem Tree Trust to help support and care for the boys. Now there is no polio in India ( thanks to Bill Gates and the Rotary Club), so there are boys with other disabilities who are now living in the home. Her videos gave us a real insight into life there.

Visitors had come to this event from Dorset, Devon, Hampshire and Gwent as well as Somerset! A number of those present are looking forward to attending the next ACWW conference in Chennai  in September. It will be very interesting to hear their feedback.

Thank you to Eileen Hurd for organising such an inspiring day, and to Binegar WI for looking after us so well.

Friday, 2 August 2013

August Activities

What a very sociable lunch today at the Bell Inn! Thanks to school holidays we were able to enjoy the company of some extra folk. Lovely! The next date is Friday 6 September, and the Knatchbull in Stoke St Michael was recommended.

Next Wednesday, 7 August, is the ACWW day at Binegar and the Nunney WI trip to Bristol. Several of us liked the idea of visiting Bristol Blue Glass, and I've checked their website. A tour requires 10 people minimum, each paying £5. Anyone up for this?
Next Friday, 9 August, is our visit to the Willow and Wetlands Centre at Stoke St Gregory. Leaving here at 10 am. I will email details.

And finally, for August, we have the President's evening on Monday 12 August. We are going to wear posh frocks and make it a Southern Belles event! Please let me know if you are coming so that we can have enough Mint Julep to quaff (and so I can make sure to have enough chairs!) . I wonder if it will be a dry evening this time?

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Earth Science Centre - wow!

From the viewing platform
Thank you very much to Gill Odolphie and her team at the Earth Science Centre, Stoke St Michael, for a most interesting and varied day. Also, thank you to Ann Orpwood for suggesting the visit last September at our programme planning meeting, and to Caroline and Graham for getting all of the organisation sorted out for us. it was lovely to share the day with some members of the Active Living Centre.
Preparing for the quarry visit

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Wayward Woman and some Rocks!

After a rather hectic start (first because I couldn't find the extension lead - thank you Barbara for saving the day! Secondly because we couldn't make the laptop play the right game - thank you to Daniel for solving all of those challenges!) we had a fun-filled evening! Judy Annan's talk about her travels all over the world was nothing short of amazing! From Mongolia to Lapland, from Madagascar to Syria and many, many more.
Once Marguerite and Val had made drinks for us all, we sat down to listen to Gill Odolphie who told us all about rocks and how we owe everything to them: where we live, the food we grow..... And she gave us a brief introduction to the different types of rock, passing samples around for us to study, including some rather rare black quartz which is worth £1,000 as well as an intricate Mexican fossil, millions of years old which was bought for 50p!

We all had a really sociable time, lots of members stayed afterwards to chat; and both of our speakers who had listened to each other, decided that they would like to come back again to hear our next speaker.

More visits!

Yvonne and Jeni have been to the County Summer Garden party, Marguerite and Gill went to Windsor with Buckland Dinham WI and Marguerite and I have just come back from the County organised tour around Hinkley Point Power Station!

Here's Yvonnes's feedback: The Summer Garden Party at Pitney was the usual collection of games and stalls etc. The aim being to raise some funds for the county federation.  Jeni and I
arrived about 1.30, after finding the usual route closed.  We were lucky that by then the rain had eased.  We both met peoples that we knew.  Most people were dressed up against the cold!!!  The sun did come out before we left.  The cream tea was fine.

The trip to Windsor was a great success! Lovely weather, with a couple of hours to wander around Windsor followed by a boat trip (and cream tea) along the Thames. A most relaxing and enjoyable day.

Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station was a thoroughly fascinating visit. This was the second group of 20 WI members to visit, all arranged by Nicki from the County PAINT committee. As usual with their events, it was very well chosen and well planned. The EDF  tour guides were very knowledgeable and very helpful, making the whole visit most informative.
The next PAINT event is a Great Food Debate on Wed 23 October, with speakers from the NFU, the Soil Association and Sainsbury's. Details will be available in the next County News.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Milton Lodge Gardens visit

What a gorgeous evening! The gardens and the setting are simply stunning! Thank you to Barbara and Richard for these photos; so you will get a glimpse of what we experienced. Excellent choice of venue, Val!

Accused brought to trial....

Our Murder Mystery evening was a great success! We caught the culprit! Everyone arrived dressed in their finest Annual Plant Show attire! The food and drinks were delectable, and we all had a really fun time! Thank you everyone for joining in and for helping!
Here are a few of Barbara's photos:
Ivy Lodge, looking as innocent as you like!

Getting ready to go!

Maggie Nolia, our Southern Belle, enjoying a Mint Julip, or two!