What a fantastic afternoon. Peter Barratt was an amazing speaker. His story about his Great Grandmother Alice Hawkins was inspirational….. everyone in the room was thrilled to listen to him. Cream tea was fab, everything went really well.
Then it was off to the Anker group Meeting at Bulkington near Nuneaton. What a great Meeting! The Ladies of Bulkington WI did a superb job of entertaining us with a Pageant about the Centenary of Warwickshire Federation. I haven’t smiled so much for ages. Brilliant! The whole meeting was great. Super reports from the WIS, lovely refreshments and lots of friendly, enthusiastic WI members. Lovely evening!
Have had a brilliant time cooking today.
Made my Suffragette cakes , even though I say it myself they look pretty good! I also made some Vegan and Gluten free scones from a recipe I found on the internet. They turned out really well. So all ready for tomorrow’s Cream tea and Talk. Looking forward to working with the Trustee Team on this event!
Brilliant trip to Chelsea today – I wasn’t able to go but the ladies all had a fab time. Very difficult journey back though – a huge accident on the M40 saw the driver run out of driving hours. All credit to Johnsons Coaches for sending a relief driver straight away! All home safe by 11pm. Brilliant.
OOOO! What a lovely time I have had today. Inspired by the coming talk about Suffragette Alice Hawkins next week I decided to see if I could make some suffrage style cake decorations! I got out the food colourings and every cutter I possess and after several trials made some really quite passable rosettes in violet, green and white! Hmmm…… al I need to do is make 80 of them!
What a brilliant afternoon. The sun shone and we were treated to a fantastic afternoon tea by the members of our Leisure activities Committee in the wonderful ancient surroundings of the Great Hall in the Lord Leycester Hospital in the centre of Warwick. The talk on The Great Fire of Warwick by Dr Gillian White was fantastic- interesting and fascinating. She is an absolutely brilliant speaker. Well done…. Team Warwickshire WI!
Wednesday 10th October
The Great Fire of Warwick
What a treat we had this afternoon. The marvellous Dr Gillian White talking about the Great Fire of Warwick, (which was after the one in London but similarly devastating!) Lots of fun information, maps and pictures helped to bring the talk alive and we were all enthralled by the story. We met in the totally amazing, ancient Lord Leycester Hospital building, which miraculously survived said fire and sat down to being royally entertained to Afternoon Tea by the Leisure Activities Committee who had organised the whole splendid afternoon! Then we all had to find our cars – an excitement in it’s own way……. I kept being distracted by the buildings all over Warwick trying to work out which were new, which had survived the Fire and so on.
Tuesday 9th October
Oooooo, the excitement in the room!
Board Meeting today and we had a great big discussion about the plans for our Annual Meeting next March. We are moving to a great big new venue at Dallas Burston Polo Ground. So it’s all the same and all different! The three organising teams reported back on their progress so far. Logistics, IT and Sponsorship all had a great range of ideas. Brilliant. Excited to be able to seat 800 members in comfort with state of the art IT support. Lots of space for all our displays and competitions. No wonder there are trumpets on all the advertising and invitations!
We were delighted to welcome two members of Stockton WI as observers to the meeting today- part of our campaign to be transparent to our members about what and how we do things! It was great to see Kathy , our new Admin Assistant at the meeting too. Lots of business – all of our Trustees work very hard and are always up for the challenge. Great to be part of such a brilliant team!
Sun 7th October
Let them eat cake!
Spent a happy morning in the kitchen- baking for the Great Fire of Warwick talk on Wednesday! Afternoon Tea provided by The Leisure Activities Committee and Trustees. Hope they like the Bakewell Tarts and coffee walnut fancies! Really looking forward to hearing Gillian White speak!
Saturday 6th October
The show must go on.
Delighted to be asked to open the Tamworth Show today. WIs from Warwickshire and Staffordshire competing with all kinds of exhibits- the Co-operative classes were most impressive. I love the fact that neighbouring Federations are working together to put on this show. Well done to the organisers. Brilliant!
Thursday 4th October
Hey Ho, Hey Ho , it’s off to Liverpool we go!
Well, it was dark when I got up and drove off to Warwick via Alvecote and Mancetter to pick up WI friends who were joining us on the Public Affairs Trip to see the Terracotta Army! Brilliant day out. We started at the Museum in Port Sunlight to see the Chinese Collection with our fab Blue Badge Guide then found ourselves a very nice spot of lunch in Liverpool before heading off to the World Museum. Wow! Well worth the wait the Terracotta Warriors, horses and other memorabilia was absolutely fascinating. Great day out!
Tuesday 2nd October
Busy, Busy, Busy.
Over to the Office at Warwick for a Membership Sub-committee meeting where we discussed promotions and made plans for various workshops to help our officers run their own WIS effectively.
Then onto our Office and Finance Group where we consider all things financial in depth and make recommendations which go to the Board of Trustees- this process helps us to work efficiently (well, OK , that’s the aim!)
Then off home for about ten minutes before setting off to visit The Treacle Tarts WI at Nuneaton!
What fun! It was their AGM- great to see so much interest , they presented a BIG cheque to their own local charity – the Mary Anne Evans Hospice. All followed by fab refreshments and a great talk about unusual shoes.
Monday 1st October
OOOOOO! Lunch with David Archer
Being Chair of the Federation sometimes has unexpected treats! I got to sit with Tim Bentinck today at the Literary Lunch. ( AKA David Archer) Witty, amusing and totally charming. He spoke about his work as an actor and author as well as giving us an insight into his alter ego David Archer. All 110 members present thoroughly enjoyed their day. Brilliant. Well done Terry Barker for organising this feast for the gourmet radioheads amongst us!
A great promotional event at Stratford Leisure Centre. Aimed at the fifty plus age group there were lots of people demonstrating a great level of interest in what we do! I even got to speak on local radio. I’m still smiling at the presenter’s face when he asked for my favourite song…. I am sure he was expecting me to say Jerusalem…. he certainly wasn’t expecting Suffragette City by David Bowie!
Started off at Wroxall Abbey, sorting out the menu for our Lunch date with Dame Stella Rimington on April 8th 2019. Then off to Federation House to work on the Digital Strategy with our super Digital Team. Lots of ideas coming up in the next few months. A quick lunch and then onto the Creative Activities Sub-Committee where all kinds of plans are afoot for next year- everything from Watercolours to George Elliot and Agatha Christie!
Then I had to hot foot it over to Ashorne Village Hall to meet up with the lovely ladies from the Wellesbourne Group. Very interesting evening- great food, good company, lovely talk on fashion designers, all in all a super time!
I have spent the day stapling felt poppies onto boards to make our huge 1918-2018 signs for the base of the display in St Mary’s. The Trustees were all smiling as they said “we know you can’t sew but even you can do stapling!”
Great to see the members of our Leisure Committee today. They were so excited about the Kayaking event on the River Leam later that afternoon! Lots of amazing sporting events are on the planner now. Look out for Dragon Boat Racing next year!
Been at Federation House all day, helping to create the Poppy Display. We have thousands and thousands of hand crafted poppies made by members all over the County. They will be on display in St Mary’s, Warwick during October and November. Our display will be either side of the high altar and is looking great! Cant wait to see it in situ.
Interesting day today. Lovely to spend the day with Sarah, our Federation Administrator. We went to London to do the Social media training provided by NFWI. Very interesting and made us plan to do lots more on Facebook and Twitter to extend our reach. We think it will be Instagram next so watch this space.
Feeling totally inadequate tonight! Went to Mancetter WI which was absolutely great. They made me feel so very welcome – but their speaker was a really ace crafter and quilter. I am a fully paid up member of the “how do I sew a button on brigade!” What a lovely evening though, everyone was so keen and ready to join in with all the events they are doing!
Board of Trustees today. We are all so excited! We are moving the Annual Federation Meeting to a brand spanking new venue next March. So we are all out of our comfort zone and having to re-plan how we do every single aspect of the meeting. Look out the IXL Centre at Dallas Burston Polo Ground- the WI are coming! We are also having the wonderful Dame Stella Rimington to speak to us at a lunch next April.
We also did all the very necessary stuff which makes the Federation run – like budgets and strategic plans. Not quite as exciting as moving the AFM and talking about MI5 but still good to know we are on top of our game!
Great afternoon today. I was privileged to host my own WI (Newton Regis) for their afternoon Tea Party for our twin WI- St Nicholas Park. Great to see them This Centenary Twinning is going really well.
Well, that will teach me to go on holiday to the wilds of Scotland with no internet! 250 emails later! Missed some great events which went really well. The Great Fire of Warwick Talk with Afternoon Tea at the Lord Leycester in Warwick was really well received by almost 100 members. The promotional event at the Saltisford Canal Basin also went very well.
Finally got over the Show weekend! Spent the morning washing, ironing and packing for Scotland tomorrow. Then drove to Wolston, to join their special celebration afternoon – Wolston WI is 100 in December. Brilliant afternoon. Sunny and bright too!
Back to Napton. Fabulous day. Loads of entries from lots of members all over the county. Judges from neighbouring counties all seemed impressed with the standard of entries. I won several times with my cooking. Haven’t lost my touch, thank goodness. Really pleased with my celebration cake for the Centenary. The Scarecrow Class was totally amazing!
Trustees today. A packed agenda. Lots of things organised. Very proud to see the rave reviews we have received for the Grand Day Out. Makes it all worthwhile. Tried hard to keep to time but went over by 20 minutes…… mainly to make sure that the Centenary Show at the weekend was all sorted. . Didn’t matter too much as we were also waiting for Warwickshire Member Emma Sharpe to arrive. She had walked all the way from Anglesey to federation House as her personal celebration for the Centenary. Inspirational Woman indeed!
Went home via Coleshill WI……… Pudding Evening. A great opportunity to meet friends old and new- My mum used to do the WI Market in Coleshill years ago. Smashing to catch up with folk.
Never say die. As we had put all the tables and chairs out in the garden for yesterday, it seemed a great idea to invite my own link WIs round for an afternoon tea for the Air Ambulance Appeal. Almost 80 people came. Brilliant. Then it poured with rain! Lovely. Still that’s another £350 for the appeal.
Great Coffee Morning at Julia’s home – she’s one of our Trustees and she invited loads of members and friends round to raise funds for our Centenary Appeal (The Warwickshire Air Ambulance). What a fab effort she made – all the cakes and biscuits came from our Centenary Cookbook- Kitchen Wisdom. Brilliant. I hear she made around £500.
Interesting meeting with our Membership and Promotions team today. Looking at opportunities to promote the WI across the county. Great to try on our new Polo shirts too! Great idea, Sue. We followed this with a meeting of our Office and Finance Group, where we looked at outline Budget planning for the next year. We also reviewed quotes for office redecoration and made various recommendations to go forward to the Board at their next meeting
A lovely day and a chance to meet members from a different part of the County. A splendid lunch and a real treat as the speaker was XXXX – one of the original Calendar Girls. Really great meeting so many people who had a great time on the Grand day Out too!
I am sitting in a hotel in Lincoln looking back on the most wonderful day ever. I have forgotten all the angst of getting over 900 WI members onto 18 coaches from 12 different venues all over the county. They all arrived in Lincoln Cathedral in plenty of time for the most fantastic singing of Jerusalem I have ever heard.
When Jeryl, one of our Trustees mooted the idea of taking as many members of the Federation as possible on a day out to somewhere special I can remember thinking- “How hard can it be?…. sounds like a brilliant idea to me!” That will teach me, I ended up as Mrs Mastermind along with Jeryl and Sue. Johnsons our local Coach firm and friends came on board and their work ensured it would be a huge success.
The city of Lincoln would welcome us with open arms- the Tourist Board were incredibly helpful and before I knew where we were the Board of Trustees were packing a thousand goody bags with leaflets, money off vouchers, maps and other goodies. The Cathedral were putting together refreshments to welcome our members and the weather was hot, hot hot!
So back to today. After a hairy start where we were receiving texts and calls confirming numbers, coach departures and changes to our lists of attendees it was all stations go! As we walked to the Cathedral we could see signs saying “Welcome Warwickshire WI members” in shop windows and on in the cathedral precincts. As we double checked that we had all the speeches, guests and seating in place the first members arrived. Huge beaming smiles which said it all! I managed to welcome them personally as a good Chair should but then the trickle became an avalanche!
The welcome by the Dean, the Mayor of Lincoln and The Chair of Lincolnshire Federation was wonderful, and it was a real moment of pride to hear our very own Lynn Stubbings, member of Wishaw WI and National Chair speak to us all.
All too soon this special moment was over, and the members were free to tour the Cathedral and the wonderful city. We all paused at 1.00pm to watch in wonder as the RAF celebrated with us by providing a Flypast. The Hawk was a sight to behold. Loved it.
Jeryl Sue and I celebrated by riding round=d the City on the open topped bus, waving madly to all our friends and members on the way. All too soon it was time to load all of those members back on to their coaches. To our astonishment it all went like clockwork , all homeward bound in under an hour! Well done, Johnsons.
So here we are in our hotel, waiting for the last few phone calls to confirm that everyone has arrived home safely – after a truly GRAND DAY OUT!!