When and where we meet:

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Regular Meetings restart in September.

Get in touch to join in now without commitment.

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

Leigh on Mendip

Visitors welcome!

For more details contact Caroline Harris
01373 812889

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Leigh on Mendip Community Coffee Mornings - Suspended for the time being.

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.



Saturday, 23 October 2021

OCTOBER

 


We've been lucky to have some good weather during October and it's been really lovely to get outdoors. 


Bulbs ordered back at the beginning of the year have arrived and some members will be busy planting them, hoping for a good show in the Spring! 

However, as nights draw in we can turn to all the crafts and hobbies we put aside in April!

Along a similar theme of moving from outdoors to indoors, our Speaker this month was John Dando.  A local social historian and broadcaster on radio Somerset. 

His subject for us, entitled, “A Walk Down the Garden Path” was an amusing history of The Privy, moving through time, from the use of the outdoor bush to the invention of the water closet!  

He covered the ‘basic needs’ of hunter-gatherers, to early settlement dwelling facilities, through to the arrival of the Romans with their well thought out, life changing sewage/irrigation systems.  He spoke about Gongfermours (or Gong Farmers), men employed to empty human excrement pits, paid handsomely and able to sell the waste on to Farmers as a perfect soil enricher! Then onto the arrival of the Chamber Pot and eventually, the invention, history and development of the indoor WC. 


He also spoke about the growing trend, in certain communities, for the compostable toilet, the benefits and maintenance of, and explained that this was initially invented, as a precaution against Cholera, by a West Country gentleman back in 1860.  They are now becoming more popular as people think of different ways to lead a more "Green" life!

Altogether entertaining and educational!


No apologies for showing pictures of Christmas boxes in October!  

Members have kindly donated many items for young people who will find themselves away from family and friends. These gifts ranging from the practical to some special treats are packed into wrapped boxes and will be distributed by the WI to local YMCAs.  The boxes will be taken in November to our County AGM being held in Yeovil.

And whilst on the theme of Christmas we have arranged our own WI Christmas meal early in December at The Bell.  Members are very much looking forward to this event which, of course, we were unable to do last year.  In recent times we have agreed rather than having a Secret Santa amongst ourselves that we will donate Christmas food items to the Food Bank in Frome.

Our speaker next month will be Neil Clark, another local West Country historian. He’ll be telling us about The ‘Bristol Channel Islands’. Looking at the coastline and uncovering its nature and mystery.

If there are any ladies in the Village who would like to join in, get to know others and meet us, you are very welcome to come along to our Meetings. Second Monday of each month in the Memorial Hall from 7.30pm.  No commitment!  Contact Caroline on 812889



Saturday, 2 October 2021

SEPTEMBER

 

This was our second meeting back in the Village Hall.  It was our AGM.  We started with covering normal business, followed by Reports from both the current Secretary and President.  Members then voted for a new President.  Mary Mears has done an amazing job over the last three years, especially through this unprecedented pandemic. Caroline Harris was duly elected.  Thank you to Caroline for taking on this role and taking our WI forward into 2022. 

Members were seated in 3's around tables and we all took part in a Fun Quiz putting to the test our cultural, social and local knowledge!!  Congratulations to the winning team.

This was followed by a short Committee meeting, when the different roles were shared out.  Thank you to all those who have worked hard over the last year in somewhat difficult times and I'm sure they will continue to provide support to the successful running of our WI in the months to come.

Our next meeting will be on 11 October and the speaker is John Dando on "A Walk up the Garden Path" (Privies – a light-hearted history of the toilet!).  There has been some discussion on a potential name change – so please come to this meeting with any ideas.  On 18 October we will be holding on Zoom a planning meeting for the 2022 Programme.  Open to all members and we welcome any suggestions for a speaker or event - we are looking for a breadth of interesting and enjoyable topics.

We will be supporting the YMCA Shoebox Appeal again.  Any further donations please bring to the October meeting.  The boxes will be wrapped and filled and we will arrange to have them delivered to Yeovil for 6 November.  This is the date for the SCFWI Annual Meeting at Westlands Entertainment Venue.

Denman courses are still available through 'Denman at Home', open to all at just £5 per session, offering a wide range of interesting and creative sessions.

https://www.denman.org.uk/whats-on/

One of our members has started a small craft group – meeting twice a month (1st and 3rd Monday) and hope to 'encourage' each other with whatever ongoing project they are working on.  Pub lunches, coffee mornings and afternoon tea gatherings will continue, with perhaps smaller groups when indoors.  Whilst the weather stays reasonably fine some members are meeting up to go for local walks.  Do make contact with each other if you would like to join in any of these activities.  A few of our ladies have not been too well recently and we wish them all a speedy and full recovery.

Meanwhile some of our members have been taking advantage of the September sun for short breaks and longer holidays in this country.  


One of our ladies has used the WI Life magazine for the second year running to find a holiday cottage and would recommend other members to take a look.

If there are any ladies who would like to join in you are very welcome.  No commitment!  Contact Caroline on 812889.



 

Monday, 30 August 2021

AUGUST

 

Hooray!!  At long, long last we were able to return to the Village Hall for our first meeting together since the start of the Government Covid restrictions in March 2020.


On 9 August we celebrated with Bucks Fizz and Cake and listened to our wonderfully interesting Speaker, Emma Britton, about her life and career changes.  She started in different Admin posts and Keep Fit classes before having over 10 years' experience as a BBC local radio presenter with her own weekday shows. With a warm and friendly presenter style she was popular with listeners and viewers.  This was evident in her talk to us.  She was funny, engaging and uplifting.  

She is passionate about her latest career as a Celebrant and conducts ceremonies – from weddings, renewal of vows and namings to funerals & memorial services.

To our WI business there wasn't enough time to mention all the activities we've done since we were last in the Hall, but we have enjoyed keeping in touch and meeting up in different ways.  We have got to know each other a whole lot better as a result.  Several members thanked the Committee for everything that they have done.


The Village Fun Day took place on Saturday 21 August and the WI were involved in running the tea stall inside the marquee.  Unfortunately, the weather was not good with rain in the morning but it did clear up later in the afternoon and village families came and enjoyed themselves.  We hope that there will be some new ladies to the village or those who have been here a while who may wish to come along and find out more about we do.

Our next meeting on 13 September will be our AGM with a "Social Twist".  We will need to vote for a new President as Mary will be standing down after 3 years of doing an excellent job in this role.  We would also welcome anyone interested in joining the Committee to help with new ideas, ad hoc events and planning.

 

 

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

JULY

 


In July we held our monthly meeting on Zoom.  Mary introduced us to our Speaker, Wafaa Powell.  Some members know Wafaa from previous meetings – going back a number of years!  This time Wafaa shared with us a fun session on 'Food, Facts and Fibs".  She talked about 'trends' in food, whether to a greater or lesser extent this is all to do with marketing and invited our comments and thoughts.  We also talked about super foods and she encourages people to experiment with new ideas and flavours.  

She is passionate about her cooking and believes we should use fresh ingredients whenever possible rather than processed food.  She runs cookery classes and has written a book on Lebanese meals.  She shared a few simple recipes with us.  When she is not busy cooking she also demonstrates belly dancing!

 

The weather in July was mixed but the day of the picnic was gloriously sunny – in fact probably too hot for some of our members.  However, a group did meet and by moving along the side of the field did manage to keep in the shade!  Another really enjoyable way to spend time with each other and catch up on news.

With the relaxation in the Government rules our meeting on 9 August will, hopefully, be held in the Village Hall.  However, members will be contacted closer to the time to confirm this.  Emma Britton, previously on BBC Radio Somerset will talk on "From Radio Shows to Funerals & Weddings".

 Preparations are underway for the Village Day to be held on the Rec Field on Saturday 21 August.  The WI will be there – so for anyone new to the village or even ladies who have been here for a while please come along and chat to one of us and find out more about what we do.


Monday, 28 June 2021

JUNE


Hooray.  A good start to June.  The weather improved and the sun came out!  AND we were able to have our long awaited picnic.  22 ladies came and what a great lunchtime.  We all brought our own picnics – with cold drinks and cakes provided.  Lots of chat and a good time had by all.  We even had a Raffle!  Final clearing up all done by 4pm.  Thank you to everyone who helped.

On 8 June Mary joined in with the first ever virtual virtual NFWI Annual Meeting! The event was live streamed from the beautiful RSA House in London while the audience tuned in from home. There were three outstanding guest speakers; HRH The Countess of Wessex, Baroness Hale and Dame Cressida Dick. All three delivered inspiring speeches covering strong women and empowerment, the need for more diversity in all areas of public life and the issue of domestic violence.   There were also speakers for the proposed resolution, which this year is 'a call to increase awareness of the subtle signs of ovarian cancer'. Delegates will now have until the start of July to vote on whether to pass this resolution and make it a WI Campaign.  In Leigh on Mendip we held a Zoom meeting on 28 June to enable members to discuss this resolution.  We'd had the opportunity to listen to the speakers via a link that had been sent to members.  9 ladies attended the Zoom meeting and we had an interesting discussion.  We felt we now know more about what to look for ourselves and felt that individually we should talk about it to family and friends.  We all voted in favour of the Resolution.  Mary will be contacting all members to ask for their vote.


Our speaker at our Zoom meeting on 14 June was John Burgess who gave a talk and delighted us with pictures of "Beautiful Somerset".  





He grew up in Bicknoller and has had a life-long love of the local countryside.  He has also written 3 guide books covering Somerset, Devon & Cornwall. 
 

We travelled in the photos from the open spaces of the Quantock Hills and Exmoor to the more built-up areas of Bath and Wells and also to the ancient Abbey at Glastonbury.  

We saw ponies, herds of deer, a murmuration of starlings and steam trains plus samples of local cheese and cider.  



This was followed by a brief business session and a chance for members to have a chat and catch up.

Tai Chi has resumed for those members who started this class last summer.

On Monday 5 July there is an informal gathering at the Rec at 4pm for members to meet and celebrate "NHS Frontline Day".

Our speaker on 12 July will be a Zoom session with Wafaa Powell on "Food Facts and Fibs".  We await further Government announcements in July to see if our meeting on 9 August with Emma Britton on "From Radio Shows to Funerals & Weddings" will be able to take place in the Hall.



Sunday, 6 June 2021

MAY

So much for taking advantage of lockdown easing! With the unseasonal wet, cool and windy weather, we’ve all been driven back indoors! However, we’ve made the best of the few brighter days and managed some outdoor meet-ups, in gardens and on the Rec.  Thank you to the members who have arranged and hosted these.  There have also been plenty of walks together, between the rain showers! We’ve continued to support each other with regular phone calls and our WhatsApp group chat. Lots of thoughts, shared moments, empathy and laughs!

Our May meeting was again on Zoom and the speaker was Marion Dale, a horticulture expert and garden designer. She has a vast knowledge of plant origins, their contextual history and place within societies. She gave a fascinating talk on “Plants which Changed the World – or Tried to!” 

She showed pictures and gave details of plants from all around the World and demonstrated how, over the years, we have adopted and used them. From the humble, domestic potato to more exotic and broader use plants which have formed the basis for some brilliant, life changing inventions and industries. Rubber, Hemp, Ferns/Coal, Silk, Perfume, Quinine, Agave – to name but a few! 

At the end of May we had a Zoom coffee morning with a theme of May celebrations.  Seven ladies joined us for a lively chat with some interesting topics coming forth.  One lady told of her childhood memories of May Day at Turville in Buckinghamshire – better known as the location for the windmill in the Chitty film and many Midsomer Murders scenes. 

We also heard of a lovely day out at The Newt in Bruton. One had many friends and family all celebrating birthdays in May – so a busy time with cards and gifts. Somehow we moved onto Studland beaches and Naturism and much other general news and fun shared.  Although more ladies are now out and about, it’s still nice to have a catch up with a small group whilst sat at home with a cuppa.

Tai Chi is starting again in the Hall. Numbers are obviously restricted indoors so booking in advance is key. From County News, there is an upcoming visit to Hauser and Wirth in Bruton and Food/Craft show in Taunton.

Our next speaker’s theme on Monday 14 June will be on “Beautiful Somerset”. A chance to uncover some of the hidden delights of our glorious County!  This will also be a Zoom meeting. 

However, before then we are planning a picnic lunch at the Recreation Field (weather permitting!) on Monday 7 June. This will be the first time since March 2020 that we will have had the chance to meet up as a whole group together!

If there are any ladies in the village who’d like to join in and get to know others, you are very welcome to our zoom talks. No commitment! Contact Mary on 01373 812415. 

Monday, 26 April 2021

APRIL

The meeting on 13 April started with our Speaker, Celia Guppy, who gave an interesting and informative talk on how to improve our Health and Wellbeing, with tips to destress and relax.  She has had a varied career as a hairdresser, fitness instructor and is now a Mindset Coach, encouraging people to think and maybe change the way we see ourselves.  She talked about the importance of hydration and eating and drinking in moderation.  

She engaged members in discussion and at the end talked us through a short relaxation session.  It worked well as a Zoom meeting but normally Celia would be talking to the group in person.  With the current Government rules on Covid, however, it is still not possible to meet inside the Hall as a group.

 

We are, though, able to shop more widely and go for that all important hair cut!  We are enjoying meeting up with a few friends or family outdoors, weather willing!!  A couple of groups of 6 have been arranged within the WI both in Leigh on Mendip and Stoke St Michael and members have really enjoyed this.  Mary has also sent out lots of local, County and National WI news, encouraging members to participate in the things of interest to them.

On 21 April we held a Zoom Social in the evening on the theme of The Queen, St George's Day and other saints!  


Thank you to Karen for hosting the night and the entertaining chat on the saints for various committee members!  It was lovely to hear our own stories about our "brush" with Royalty at various events.  Sue gave us some interesting facts about St George and their family tradition of giving a book on St George's Day.  This lead to a discussion on books that we had read and recommendations.

 

Our next meeting is on Monday 10 May, with a Zoom speaker, Marion Dale.  She is an award winning garden designer and horticultural expert.

Members are reminded that Subs are due.  Please contact Caroline if you wish to renew your membership.