Wednesday 13th February
Judges, Shows and a good old catch up……
Had a lovely meeting this afternoon – it was great to see our Judges altogether. We welcomed Vicky, Bev and Fiona, newly qualified judges to the meeting and were sorry to hear that Dianne and Judi are to “ hang up their Judges hats” this year.
We discussed the allocation of Judges for the various applications for Judges which have been received and made plans for a moderation meeting next year.
It was a pleasure to attend the meeting and to be able to thank the Judges for all they do for our WIs and their members on behalf of the Federation.
Tuesday 12th February
The Board Meeting……..
A long day today, we were pleased to welcome an observer from Kenilworth WI to the meeting and sorted flyers and budgets for The Digital Committee Evening in July as well as a trip to Harry Potter World in October. People are always amazed how far in advance we have to work, but this is to allow time for everything to be processed, mailed out to WIs and to allow WIs two meetings to discuss them and order tickets if they wish to do so. We have to do this in time to be able to cancel an event without penalty if there isn’t enough take-up! (All part of the being financially prudent bit)
The first break saw us all outside with our “ Show the Love” green hearts- necklaces, brooches, biscuits and even a heat! We are all jolly proud to be part of this wonderful NFWI campaign, which is gaining ground every year!
We are all looking forward to the Centenary Concert on Saturday 23rd February at Warwick School, which promises to be a fabulous evening. There are still a few tickets left, so do contact the Office if you would like to join us. We also went through all the arrangements for the AFM in March, making sure we have all our bases covered…. I hope!!
A moment of sadness We were all very sorry to hear of the sad loss of Ann Beatty, such a stalwart member of the Federation for many years. We all shared our memories of her fantastic contributions over the years and took time to remember the many ways she had touched all of our lives.
Monday 11th February
Biscuits iced……… meetings done and dusted!
What a lovely day- busy though……. Everyone was thrilled with the sheer size and space in the Hall at Dallas Burston! Had a great discussion with Matt, the AV man, Matt will make sure all the sound and visual technical work on the day! We know where all the collection points for the mailing, the Homeless Period Collection and so on are going to be now. Looking forward to the day very much!
Sorted out loads of stuff with Sue , our lovely Treasurer and then off we went to Wroxall Abbey to make sure that all our plans for Lunch with Dame Stella Rimington are in place. Brilliant.
Home much later and iced those biscuits ready for tomorrow.
Sunday 10th February
Green Hearts at the ready!
Busy day today. We have a lot of meetings tomorrow- Dallas Burston to run through the arrangements for the AFM, then a meeting with Sue, our lovely treasurer about Independent Financial Examinations- she has some brilliant ideas! then we are off to Wroxall Abbey to finalise the arrangements for the Lunch with Stella Rimington on 8th April.
I have got all the paperwork and planning for Monday ( as above) sorted out and I am ready for Tuesday’s Board meeting. Well, all except finishing my green heart biscuits for the Trustees Version of Show the Love! Mind you, I just have to stop Ray from eating these biscuits before I have finished icing them………… he thought they were an early Valentine’s present.
Thursday 7th February
MMMMMM Chocolate workshop night.
OOO! just the thing after a busy day preparing paperwork for the Board meeting next Tuesday. My own WI at Newton Regis had a super- duper Chocolate Workshop – everyone had a lovey time.
Tuesday 5th February
A different sort of day……
Missed going to Membership and promotions Committee today as I was speaking at The Country Trust Conference. Those of you who know me, know that as an ex teacher I have a passion for taking disadvantaged kids on farm visits!
M&P have all kinds of exciting plans afoot- training treasurers and officers , helping WIs to promote themselves and opening new WIs!
Monday 4th February
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!!!
Well, Sue Myhill and I had a great time today, asking each other lots of questions about the CIO plans. Bit disappointed not to see anyone else, but we consoled ourselves that it must have meant that the paperwork we sweat blood over had been reasonably clear. ( At least, that’s our theory!!!)
Then we had an Office and Finance meeting with Veronica and Christine, our lovely Vice Chairs where we discussed the quotations for the renewal of the electricity contract for Federation House – it’s definitely worth getting three quotes as there was quite a difference!
FINALLY we met with all the Trustees to hold our Annual Policy Review.
This was an evening meeting as we are trying to vary meeting times to encourage people who work to consider becoming Trustees.
We went through all of the policy decisions made during the year and formalised them for posterity. One of those quietly important jobs. Many thanks to Margaret for making sure we didn’t miss any decisions and to Sarah, for minuting the meeting so accurately.
Sunday 3rd February
Reviews and tomorrow!
As the first year of this new Board draws to a close I am really enjoying having a chat to individual Trustees to review how the year has gone – what went well, not so well and what they would like to do differently or more of next year.
Also trying to make sure that I am well prepared for the meetings tomorrow about changing the charitable status of the Federation. These are open to any/ all current members, who are able to come along for a coffee and chat at 11.00am or 2.30pm . Sue, Federation Treasurer and I will be there doing pour best to answer any questions or concerns.
Friday 1st February
Stella Rimington is coming!
Opened an official looking envelope in the post today and it was confirmation of how much Dame Stella is looking forward to seeing us all on April 8th! So I thought I had better double check that I had bought my tickets for the lunch at Wroxall Abbey. Ah! I had bought mine when this event was on members only release…….. in my head I had bought a ticket for Ray but, on checking , realised I must have dreamt it! Oops! Good job there are still a few tickets left for members and friends! I would have been in the doghouse otherwise!
Wednesday 30th January
Policy Preparation Day
Next Monday we have our annual Board of trustees Policy check up meeting. This is when we make sure that all of our policies are up to date and compliant with the Constitution and charity law. Any changes made during the year are discussed and made into policy. Sounds a bit pedantic, I know but we have to ensure that everything we do is proper!
Spent today checking the paperwork to make sure the agenda runs smoothly. We are trialling this as an evening meeting of the Board. We are very conscious that our current pattern of meetings would preclude someone who works (unless they have an extremely understanding Boss) from joining the Board.
Monday 28th January
What a day!
Totally done in when I got home last night. Presidents Day went really well. We did three sessions , 2.00, 4.30 and 7.30pm. Everyone who came was really appreciative of the effort put in by individual Trustees to ensure that their own part f the presentation was interesting, informative and professional. We covered a lot of ground with everything from keeping up with charitable law and GDPR to how to promote your WI on social media getting an airing. ( pic on twitter)
Huge thank you to all those Presidents and committee members who attended. Really appreciate your support.
Just making sure I have everything ready for President’s Day tomorrow ……… it’s a packed agenda and I just want to be sure that if we have WI ladies from all over the County coming along then we have done our very best to prepare and provide them with the information they need to do their job! It’s a great honour for our Board that so many Presidents are making the effort to come along to meet with us. Brilliant!
OOOOOOOO! My cheeses I made at Denman last week are beginning to do their thing! The Cambozola has grown a “furry white coat” of mould and the Stilton has a powdery blue coat. I emailed the Tutor Louise in a total panic in case I had done it wrong. She said “Chill out, this is the fourth panicking email have had. It’s all fine!” Happy Days!
Well done to the intrepid team of Trustees who spent all morning at the office proof reading the new Yearbook. It’s got to go to print shortly in order to be ready for the Annual Federation Meeting in March.
Well, that’s it then having seen Trish’s knitted smoothie hats I thought I had better show willing….. after all I did manage to knit some poppies for the display in Warwick (only because Jeryl Stone made me knit one! ) I will be doing the simple stripey one, not a clever dinosaur or banana!
Lots of paperwork at the moment. We have been getting ready for our Annual President’s Day Presentation next Monday and all of the Trustees have been emailing their ideas and agenda items in all day. I think it’s just about in order now
Busy day at Federation House today. Spent all morning with the Leisure Activities Committee. Goodness me have they got some exciting events coming up …… ever fancied Dragon Boat Racing? Look out for the flyer! Nordic Walking and Line dancing are also in the pipeline! And we’ve still got the Darts Final and the Treasure Hunt coming up! It’s all go!
Quick lunch break and then onto Creative Activities Committee…….. what’s your WI doing for the NFWI Get Creative Festival in May? Let us know if you are planning an event. We will be doing something very creative at Warwick Museum on Saturday 18th May! Look out for Stumpwork and Willow Weaving later in the year. Some really great ideas.
Trish has been really busy knitting exemplar hats for those smoothie bottles- totally amazing and fun
Favourite sort of day….. yesterday when I went to the market in Tamworth, Paul my lovely fruit and veg man uttered the immortal words “I’ve got a present for you!”
Yep, a 40lb box of Seville oranges so today I have been marmalading all day. Just waiting for Ray to realise that I have emptied his Laphroiag whisky into the last batch!
Did quite a bit of Federation stuff today, preparing for President’s Day on Monday 28th January. It’s a buy agenda and all of the Trustees are talking part so I‘m just trying to make sure we don’t duplicate our presentations! Hope you have booked your place, presidents!
What a sense of achievement. I have a cold box full of cheese to take home….. and oat biscuits, and cheese straws and the aforementioned tart. What a wonderful course. Thoroughly recommend going to Denman. If you have never been then why not go on one pf the Day courses Warwickshire are running and have a look!
We are making blue cheeses this time , so during the day we have made Cambozola, Goats cheese and now Stilton . Sooo excited! Also made the most wonderful blue cheese salad dressing and a gorgeous Gorgonzola, pecan and pear tart! Before we knew where we were it was time for another lemonade and then I was so tired that I don’t even remember getting into bed!
Spent the morning running round doing family stuff and emailing Trustees about bits and bobs. It’s only when you are going away for a few days that you remember how much there is to do. Poor Sarah in the office, a load of emails and then phone calls as the time to depart got ever closer!
Then we were off to Denman……….. my sister and I were going to make cheese with the lovely Louise Talbot.
On arrival it was great to see two more Warwickshire members – coincidentally also on the Cheese course. Fab!
After tea we got the first cheese started. Gallons of milk and cream! Then off to the Bar for a quick lemonade before bed!
It seemed very strange getting up and out to go to a Board Meeting today!
We decided to trial a Saturday meeting as we are aware that weekday meetings might put off potential Trustees. (and we are also trialling an evening meeting soon. Watch this space!)
We were delighted to welcome visitors from The Revel and Harbury WIs and hope that they found the day useful. We did loads of business as we were finalising flyers and budgets for events and outings in July. I am thrilled to bits because we are definitely on for another Grand Day Out on July 29th! Thanks to Mr Johnson for giving us the coaches at a very reasonable rate and for enabling us to have multiple pick-ups across the Federation. We are hoping that as many members as possible will join us for a Day Out to WINCHESTER. A great opportunity for smaller WIs to take part in an outing without incurring a major financial risk See you all there!
We also finalised a lot of details for the Annual Federation Meeting on March 18th at Dallas Burston Polo Ground. It is looking good, with a packed agenda and SIMON KING , the acclaimed wildlife photographer as Keynote speaker in the afternoon. We also have all kinds of special speakers and entertainment which celebrate Inspiring Women! So look forward to seeing you all there !
What a fantastic evening I had at the Platinum Celebration Dinner held by Curdworth WI tonight. Great food, good company- lots of WI friends I have made over the years were there. Fab to see so many great people! The evening went with a real swing, and the entertainment! Well! What a fantastic magician- Sue Myhill , our lovely Treasurer is still checking her watch to see if it really is hers – we all thought it was lost forever! Lynne Stubbings had a great time too as Wishaw have a long-standing friendship with Curdworth. Brilliant night!
Off I went on the train, all the way to Dundee! Best bib and tucker, WI badge highly polished.! I won an invitation to the 150th Birthday Celebration of The People’s Friend Magazine! What a bash! Everyone I met was interested to find out about the WI so those of you who have met me can imagine that I was in my element on that one! Dundee was lovely. Really enjoyable time…… and six hours on the train gave me so much time to prepare for the Board meeting! Bonus!
Drove to Warwick early today and met the Officers ( Veronica, Sue and Christine) at the Hall at Budbrooke. The Hall is new to us and we are using it as a venue for Presidents Day on 28th January so we needed to check it out. Lovely sunny morning and the Hall looks great.
Back over to the Office for a Staff meeting with Sarah and Kathy. We get together every month or so to see how things are going and make sure we haven’t forgotten anything important! It’s also a great opportunity for a catch up!
Then we got down to the graft of the Office and Finance group- led by Sue ,our Treasurer we grappled with various quotes, reviews and plans. It was great to be joined by Heather Howell for this meeting, as she co-ordinates Sales and merchandise for us. We went through loads of paperwork and made a series of recommendations which will be taken to the Board of Trustees later in the week.
The Centenary Concert Group also had a meeting today! Lots of plans for a splendid evening on 23rd February. Hope you have all got your tickets!
Have spent today catching up on emails and getting ready for meetings at Federation House on Tuesday. Sue Myhill, our lovely County Treasurer has been working hard preparing budgets for various events which we have in the pipeline for our members to enjoy later in the year. She has also prepared quite a long agenda for the Officers to discuss on Tuesday at the Office and Finance Meeting. (This committee does quite a lot of the preparatory legwork for the Board meetings)
Looking forward to seeing Sarah and Kathy in the Office on Tuesday- hope they both had a great Christmas break……
Also very grateful thanks to Veronica, Vice Chair who went into the Office just before Christmas to check over the re-decoration works so that the contractors could be paid before Christmas. She saved me doing a good two hour round trip for which I am very thankful.
Happy New Year to you all! Had a fab time away in the wilds of Ardnamurchan, very cold but beautiful as always. The cottage we stay in is literally at the end of the road and has no phone signal or internet. We had to use the more old fashioned means of communication.
Today is my last day of blogging until the New Year as I am going to settle down for a nice family Christmas and then spend the New Year in the wilds of Scotland. It’s been a really interesting and exciting year for me as Chair and I do hope that next year will be even better as we set off into the second century of the Warwickshire Federation.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year
Had to polish up my Badge and find out my best coat tonight as I was representing the Federation at the Carol Service held by The Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of Warwickshire. What a lovely traditional service with a lovely choir and brass band. Smashing evening.
After a very busy weekend of family and village Christmasssy events it was lovely to get into the Federation Office today to see the decorators hard at work and Sarah and Kathy almost ready with the mailing!
Met up with the Officers to check out the Hall ready for Presidents Day at the end of January and then off to Dallas Burston to review the plans for the Annual Federation Meeting on March 18th with Christie. Then we had a little lunch party for ourselves at The Millstone Hare. Nice way to end a very busy day for the Federation!
Went to the Centenary celebration for Dunchurch and Thurlaston WI tonight! Amazing! A real 1918 them throughout! Traditional fare, a 1918 raffle and serving ladies who looked like they had stepped out of Downton Abbey! Brilliant evening. It was great to see Lynne Stubbings, our national chair there too!
You would hardly recognise Federation House today! The walls are bare and everything has been moved and packed away ready for the decorators to spruce it up! It looks really odd , but when you see the spaces where the pictures and hangings were then you really do know it was time for re-decoration!
Board meeting day today. Trustees were full of the Christmas spirit! We got a lot of serious business done today- finalising plans for Presidents day on January 28th, and making sure we are sorted for the Centenary Concert on Feb 23rd as well as making arrangements for the Annual federation meeting in March. We also approved plans , budgets and flyers for events in May 2019 which will be making their way to members in the mailing!
I am so grateful to everyone on the Board who work so hard to support the Federation. They are brilliant!
Paperwork day today. I like to be all prepared for the Board meeting so I was double checking all the paperwork and making sure it was all lodged on the new secure area of the website! We are well and truly on our way to becoming a paperless Board now!
Well, what a lovely evening I spent tonight with members of Bilton WI celebrating their Centenary! Fabulous food, tinsel everywhere lots of fun and laughter. It was titled Sparkle Evening and it certainly lived up to the name! Well done, Bilton for celebrating in style.
I was also privileged to meet Shirley Brookes who has been a WI Member for an amazing 66 years!
Off to Federation House really early today. Loaded the car with food and puddings.
Met with the Membership and Promotions Team first and made all kinds of plans for helping new Committees and Officers to run and promote their WIs. Then it was the GRAND LUNCH! How fabulous to see all of our team together enjoying a social time together. They work so hard for us all and it was great to see them, the Trustees and Sarah and Kathy from the Office – who actually make everything happen!
Then we had a quick meeting of the Digital Strategy Team where we planned several events for helping members to gain digital skills and planned the next stage of development for the Warwickshire website.
That’s what my husband said, when he looked in the fridge this morning! I was just bombing off down to the local schools to make Christmas puddings in Assembly with the kids – it’s a tradition started when I retired! So he was left with dire warnings about NOT touching any of the puddings as the ladies from the WI would need them!
Did the assemblies, which was great fun and then came back and piped whipped cream everywhere with gay abandon. Even did a pud for the long – suffering husband.
Then of to The Polesworth Group Carol Service which was at Mancetter this year, lovely to spend time with all of my friends from the local WIs . Splendid evening all round.
My favourite sort of day. It’s the special lunch for all the ladies who work so hard on the Sub-Committees of the Federation on Tuesday and I made a start on the puddings today ! These ladies are our real unsung heroes, beavering away putting on a huge range of events for members across the year….. there are so many I hardly know where to start!
• Creative Activities organise workshops, Literary Lunches and Poetry Mornings
• Leisure Activities provide the Darts tournament, walks, canoeing and the Treasure Hunt
• Public Affairs provide the Serious Science evenings and Women Reaching Women days
• Membership and Promotions provide a range of supporting services for existing WIs as well as offering advice and opening new WIs.
Paperwork day today! Getting ready for the Digital Strategy meeting next week and starting on the Board agenda for the following week. It’s “good for the soul” as I am heard to say many times every week!
Another absolutely brilliant day. As Trustees we decided to show our support for Denman by organising a Denman Day Out for the Board and friends! The cookery demonstration by Kelly was absolutely brilliant. We are all making fabulous meringues, spiced nuts and Stilton biscuits by the bucket load. I know what all my friends are getting for Christmas! Lovely day again. Great lunch, super tour of Denman and then a cream tea before we set off home. Fabulous!
Lots of Christmas cooking today. Trying to get ahead!
Also packed the car ready for the Christmas Celebration tomorrow. Big panic to find the Christmas CDs which we had put away somewhere very safe last year!
Boxes of crackers for 80- check,
CD player – check,
Tinsel – check,
Table decoration- check!
As well as being Chair of the Federation I am also a Trustee for an educational charity so today I went to London with over 500 representatives from large and small charities to be updated on Safeguarding legislation. The information I gained about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults will be fed back to the Board of Trustees so that we are all kept up to date with information from the Charity Commission.
Long but rewarding day today at Federation House. Spent the morning with the Leisure Activities Committee reviewing and planning events for members . The Great Fire of Warwick talks and the Chelsea trip both received high praise from members which is very satisfying!
The Committee have all kinds of plans in hand including Nordic Walking and (OMG!) Dragon Boat Racing. Look out everybody, sounds like huge fun to me!
This was followed by a fantastic pre -Christmas Lunch with the Creative Activities Committee. Once a year leisure and Creative have a get together. Fab lunch!
Then it was the turn of Creative activities. The recent Warhorse event was extremely popular and the February date is widely expected to be a complete sell-out too. There are masses of events coming up for craft minded people as well as the Poetry Mornings, a watercolour workshop, Literary Lunch and a Celebration of the life of George Elliott. It’s all go on this Committee too!
How absolutely brilliant to see almost 400 members of the Warwickshire Federation at St Mary’s, Warwick this morning for our Centenary Celebration! Cold and crisp morning – but being welcomed by those bells as you crossed the Square was so heartwarming! A great range of poems and readings by members from right across the county AND a great finale by our very own Lynne Stubbings, National Chair. Brilliant.