November 2016

This meeting was our annual meeting when we report on the activities of the past year, our plans for next year and our general situation, all of which I am pleased to say are very good with new members abounding and our bank balance looking positively healthy. Gill Bird, last years’ president and newly elected for a second term, thanked everyone for all their hard work, particularly the committee who were also re-elected  en bloc for a second term of fun and games, none more thrilled to be thanked than the lovely Lorraine who positively sparkled when her turn came. Our thanks were also passed to Rose and Christine from Fressingfield W.I. who came to act as tellers for the evening and they received pretty buttonholes for their efforts. Safe to say all is well at Stradbroke W.I. and following refreshments we moved on to a quiz session organised by June  then the evening drew to a close. Our next meeting in December is our Christmas dinner but the fun starts again 12th January with a session of carpet bowls so do come along if you can. Prue Rush

October 2016

This was an eagerly anticipated evening and the members arrived promptly admiring the impressive display of shrubs and various plants laid out in preparation for our speaker for the evening who was Matthew Tanton-Brown , a well known horticulturist from East Bergholt. Jill and Jane introduced the evening and I am happy to say had the pleasure of welcoming another new member Yvonne Wilkins to our midst. Birthday buttonholes were distributed hostesses thanked and then we settled down to hear from our speaker.
Matthew launched into his subject with enthusiasm and a rather wicked sense of humour which we all enjoyed throughout his talk which was sprinkled with comic anecdotes and little asides . First we heard about soil types and which plants suited each area plus how to improve or alter the soil to suit the planned planting, after this he moved on to talk about the Acer family of shrubs and trees , the amazing variety of colours and leaf shapes and showing us the different varieties from the display he had set out for us. How to ensure a show of colour throughout the seasons using different families of trees and shrubs was next along with some samples from the display to help us appreciate the possibilities. There was one plant which we were told would give us bright purple fruits later in the season but when he showed us these, with a big grin on his face, they were most unattractive bunches of long bulbous dull purple "things" for want of a more descriptive word, known as dead mans' fingers, ah, not quite what we had hoped for and summarily dismissed by all. Tips on pruning came next, time and level of cutting and to beware of making the tree or shrub bleed, pictures of bandages and sticking plasters came to mind. Matthew used to train and work at Wisley Horticultural Centre and gleefully related the story of how they dealt with visiting W.I. groups. It seems they had a reputation for acquiring 'free' cuttings utilising large handbags and voluminous coats. When these ladies arrived they were followed discreetly around the gardens and greenhouses using radio communication to warn other areas of their impending arrival and both sides worked with military precision to achieve their differing aims , all good humoured ,and when the ladies retreated to the café the Wisley guards were stood down until the next time. The need for bright berries and other fruits for the birds and flowers for the bees was discussed next and there were plenty of examples for us to see, I would like to tell you some of their names but Latin is not my strong point and trying to spell them might cause confusion, but safe to say they can all be found in good garden centres. When talking about trees particularly we were informed of the need for male and female versions in close proximity to ensure good flowering and fruiting and that it is not always easy to tell the difference between them, and, what's more, some males of the species require two females ,oh yes!!. Also, we learnt that as male plants age they become long thin and spindly, huh, sadly the females become stockier. Some thoughts on colour styling came next, again how to keep colour through the seasons high and low in the garden followed by the theory that those who plant in a colour co-ordinated fashion are a sophisticated lot, those who plant using white and pastel shades are demure in nature and those of us who plant in random hectic colour schemes are downright dangerous and to be avoided in dark alleyways, really? We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and after a question and answer session Matthew was thanked by Caroline and had a well earned cup of tea after which he kindly donated a lovely shrub to our raffle ,many thanks.
Our next meeting will be our annual meeting on November 10th all most welcome .
Prue Rush

September 2016

A full complement of ladies gathered in the community centre in happy anticipation of our speaker for the evening, Brian Piccolo, a gentleman well known to our members from a previous visit. Gill and Jane whipped through the routine business of the evening , presenting beautiful birthday posies and thanking the hostesses for their efforts. Jennifer Chetwynd took a few minutes to tell us that she had reached her target weight loss of 6 stones yes 6 stones and was celebrating not with chocolate cake but by joining the ride or stride charity walk and would appreciate any sponsorship that may be offered to her. We are all seriously impressed by her efforts , she looks even better than she did before she started this marathon effort, and not a little envious of the results, well done Jennifer and keep going Annie, her companion in this exercise.
On to the speaker for the evening who was talking about his walk from the top to the bottom of New Zealand. Now for me such an exercise would be hard to contemplate but Brian was doing this for charity so set about getting himself fit and in the New Zealand springtime he and his support team of volunteers set off on the journey of a lifetime . The trip started at the top of the North Island coming down through Aukland , the Bay of Plenty and some other glorious Maori names lovely to hear hard to pronounce and impossible to spell. The talk was a gentle meander through the unspoilt quiet countryside illustrated by some beautiful photos of river and mountain views and tales of the kindness and generosity of the people he met on the way. North Island is a volcanic region and on occasion steam can be seen spiralling into the atmosphere and melting the snow on the peaks , this, combined with a walk along the Desert Road demonstrated the variety and contradictions of the landscape. In order to complete the walk Brian had to cross the water to the South Island and for someone who is seasick at the thought of a rowing boat this was a greater challenge than walking ,however once on the shore again he was into a different landscape of rolling hills and lakes very different from North Island. His journey continued and we were regaled with tales of daring do and kindness and many beautiful vistas and so he travelled on to the end of his challenge, very impressive. Throughout the talk the ladies were quiet listening intently enjoying the experience and a slightly worried Brian commented on the quiet but as we explained we were all enthralled and listening intently , a compliment to the speaker.
Refreshments were served and the members chatted to Brian asked questions and shared personal memories of their own trips to N.Z. Moyra Gibling gave the vote of thanks heartily endorsed by us all, Gill tidied up the official business and eventually the meeting broke up and the ladies of the W.I. satisfied with a lovely evening disappeared into the night chatting happily as they went.
Our next meeting is on October 13th when we will have a talk on Seasonal Interest in the Garden by Matt Tanton Brown, do come and give us a try you will be made very welcome. Prue Rush.

August 2016

This is our summer meeting traditionally held in a members garden but, with the joys of the English weather, once bitten many times soaked, we now hold it in the Community Centre. To this end the room was beautifully presented with decorated tables and flowers and the ladies in their pretty summer clothes adding to the summer feeling. The members were welcomed with the choice of a glass of Pimms or a fruit drink, the Pimms went down very well and the room was soon full of chatter and laughter. The ladies of the committee presented a wonderful summer buffet of various meats and salads followed by some of the wickedest desserts ever enjoyed and so the evening progressed. Jane G. presented two quizzes and had the fun of trying to keep the participants in order as the ladies competed for the prize of a mini chocolate bar each . A vote of thanks was given by Moira Gibling heartily endorsed by all the members, a large number of whom took over the washing up and general clearing up , much appreciated by the committee members .Thus ended a very happy evening and the well fed chattering members disappeared into the chilly night looking forward to the September meeting which we believe will be a great treat as Brian Piccolo will be coming to speak about ,walking top to toe in New Zealand, this will be on the 8th of September and all will be welcome on the evening, he is a great speaker so come and try us out !!!
Prue Rush

July 2016

This month we offered an open meeting for everyone interested in flower arranging at the highest level because our speaker was Jenny Baker a gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower show and wow what a show she put on for us. More than 60 ladies gathered to fill the Community Centre in happy anticipation of the spectacle to come and their happy chatter was a cheerful prelude. Jill welcomed us all and did the basic housekeeping before we leapt straight into the evening's entertainment with the introduction of Jenny. What followed was a wonderful display of her artistry with flowers and her ability to tell a good yarn as she worked. Jenny chatted easily about how she became involved in flower arranging, the occasional politics of Flower Clubs but mostly about her journey ,literally, to Chelsea to compete, and the nearly horrors of some of the hotels she was booked into, not places you would like your daughter to stay, not to mention the taxi driver who did not have 'the knowledge' and who drove around London searching for their destination before dropping them at the end of the required street leaving them to finish their journey on foot. The stories of, at best second rate hotels, and at worst a hostel where she had to pay for bed linen , make her own bed up and cook her own breakfast, made us laugh and gasp in admiration at her indomitable spirit. As she chatted Jenny's magic fingers fashioned the most beautiful creations using basic and exotic greenery and of course wonderfully coloured flowers of different shapes and sizes all toning and complementing each other .Four of these were produced through the evening with a break for refreshments after the first two displays had been perfected, and the ladies sat enthralled to the end enjoying every minute of their 'chat' with Jenny as she entertained in her friendly and relaxed way. Carrie Barnes gave a heartfelt vote of thanks roundly supported by the audience and then came the raffle as four lucky ladies became the proud owners of a floral masterpiece each, and so the evening ended as the contented audience left amid bright chatter and the perfume of the beautiful flowers disappearing into the evening air.

Our next evening is our garden evening starting at 6pm on 11th August, see you there!!

Prue Rush

June 2016

The ladies of the W.I , 27 of us plus 3 visitors, gathered in happy anticipation of an evening of ladies fashion through the ages to be presented by Kindra Jones and they were not disappointed. First we had our usual robust rendering of Jerusalem followed by Gill and Jane dealing with the general business and informing us of the marks our members received for their offerings at the Suffolk Show. These were good marks but not enough to win the coveted first prize and we say well done and thank you to the ladies who were brave enough to enter the competition on our behalf, Carol Darling ,Jane Gemmill , Carol Bird , Betty Chittock ,Patricia Wodward, Phyllis Gunn and Annie Harbrow are their names, a talented bunch . The pieces were on display for our delectation and admiration and we were all most impressed by them. The presentation of birthday posies came next and thanks expressed to our hostesses for the evening. Among our visitors was Kamal Ivory who has decided to join us as of July and so we say welcome to her and thank you for joining ,we hope you will be happy with us.

On to the presentation of the evening as Kindra introduced herself giving us a brief history of how she came to be so involved in historical costumes having worked at Kentwell Hall in full costume and experienced for herself the problems of wearing such heavy and restricting garments , particularly long woollen skirts in wet weather, memories of wet dogs come to mind. The demonstration started with the basics ,that is underwear and corsets. Oh my word I am so glad that we have moved on from the multiple layers, laces and stays that defined the shape a lady should, or as often as not, should not display to the world, although some of the elasticated garments of today can be pretty challenging to wear. With the aid of slides and an impressive ability to quick change from one outfit to the next Kindra led us through a time warp of fashion from the 12th to the 20th century displaying the eccentricities of design and the absolute glory of some of the beautiful silks used for the gowns of the higher class ladies, Jane looked pretty good in a shot silk gown and train of green blue silk as she roamed the hall after the talk, serious envy. The evening passed so quickly in haze of fabric and colour all beautifully displayed and demonstrated and our questions answered with great knowledge. Thanks were offered by Joyce Lee heartily endorsed by us all and we were then able to examine the garments for ourselves and wonder once again at the feel of the fabrics and the horror of the corsets.
Refreshments were served and amid much chatter we reconvened to finish the business of the evening before departing until our July meeting.

The meeting on July 14th at 7.30pm is an open meeting when Gold Medallist from the Chelsea Flower Show Jenny Baker will be demonstrating her skills in flower arranging and it is hoped that as many folk who can will join us for a small fee of £4, which will include light refreshments, and enjoy the evening with the displays being raffled at the end of the presentation. Do come and join us, we look forward to seeing you and enjoying an excellent evening. Tickets are available from Gill Bird on 388418, June Hampson on 88418 and Jane Gemmill on 384518.
Prue Rush

May 2016

28 members and 3 visitors joined together to enjoy the MAY meeting keen to debate the resolutions and to join in the Silent Auction which was organised by Patricia Woodward. To start the evening Gill welcomed us all and thanked our hostesses for the flowers and posies and in advance for the refreshments, always a good move . Gill informed us that a letter of thanks for the bouquet of flowers given to Joyce and Roy Lee on the occasion of their golden wedding anniversary had been received from them expressing their pleasure at the gift. 

Gwyneth Harris took the opportunity to tell as about Denman College that is in need of works and maintenance to be done and of course this will be expensive as the house is Georgian and needs remedial works . Ways of supporting the college were discussed and a gift box has been provided so that members may gift anonymously if they wish or by cheque if so desired. 

The resolutions were our next topic and there was much lively discussion around the first subject regarding care for dementia patients when in hospital. The resolution wanted hospitals to provide facilities for the carers to come into hospital and stay with their relatives to help with their care provision. This was thought to be all well and good but perhaps did not give enough concern to the fact that carers also need a break and should not be used as volunteer labour, that perhaps time and money should be spent to ensure that all staff are thoroughly trained and aware of the problems in caring for patients with such specific needs when staying in hospital. A vote was taken and the resolution was carried on a majority vote .The next resolution was to prevent supermarkets from throwing away edible food that could be used by those in need . This again caused lively discussion as we were informed that most of the big supermarkets are already working with some charities to utilise this food and that it is more of a problem with the smaller businesses. The principal of avoiding food waste was agreed as was the need to bring this problem to the attention of the public and media. At this point a vote was taken and the resolution was passed by a majority vote. 

It was noted by many members that the wording of these resolutions did not always satisfy the need to be able to make a clear cut decision on the resolution and that greater thought should go into the presentation of future resolutions. At this point we thanked Jennifer Chetwynd for her sterling efforts in presenting the resolutions and managing the debates, no rotten tomatoes were thrown and the session concluded peacefully. 

Further excitement ensued as the silent auction commenced. Over the last few months members have collected their unused gifts and Patricia Woodward has put them together in little groups with exotic titles like Arabian nights and All woman. The members were given some time to look at the presentations and to put in a bid for the ones they liked the best, others could out bid them but as in all good auctions you could come back and increase your bid. As for the silent part , well that was asking too much of our W.I. ladies as they took their refreshments and made their bids. Patricia called time and the lady with the last bid on the list of her choice took the spoils amid much laughter and chatter. Thank you Patricia that was fun and we made some money for our W.I. 

Final business was conducted and the meeting was closed. 

Next meeting will be on 9 th June when Kindra Jones will come dressed in costume and talk to us about costumes through the ages. 

See you there . Prue Rush.

April 2016

It was a very wet day on Thursday 14 April, with continual rain, hail, thunder and lightning, and the wet theme continued into the evening, as the topic for our speaker was sailing! Our president Gill Bird got the evenings proceedings underway, and was delighted to welcome Roz Adcock as our newest member. Iris and Vivienne were thanked for being our hostesses for the evening, and for making the birthday buttonholes for Gwyneth, Jane J. Sue P. and Caroline. Members once again showed their generosity with their support for the Food Bank collection, and were warmly thanked by Gill. To celebrate H.M.the Queens 90th Birthday the W.I. will be joining in the village celebrations by helping with the flower festival in the church in June. Then it was back to the water again as Gill welcomed John Wilkinson from the' Woolverstone Project' an organisation who help those with disabilities realise their dream, and learn to sail. With the aid of a computer John showed slides of the various vessels they use for training, and explained the technical details and the safety measures required. The sport was found to give amazing confidence and freedom to the new sailors with many being reluctant to come off the water when their lesson was over. The Woolverstone Project has clearly opened up a whole new world for them, and Annie gave a heartfelt vote of thanks to John on our behalf. After refreshments Gill proposed that we restart the Kurling Group again, and members readily agreed. A beautiful basket of flowers arranged by Dianne, to celebrate Joyce and Roy Lee's Diamond Wedding Anniversary was shown to members and delivered the following morning, as Joyce was unable to be at the meeting. After reminders of the 'Silent Auction' next month Gill closed the meeting, and the rain was still coming down...

March 2016

The March meeting of our W.I. saw 36 members and 6 visitors coming through the doors all eager for a chat and to hear from our speaker Mark Mitchels who was to talk about the history of theatre in the 15th and 16th centuries, focusing mainly on the Globe theatre made famous by Shakespeare and his writings. The assembled folk were greeted by Gill and a lusty rendition of Jerusalem rang out boosted by the welcome baritone addition from the gentlemen visitors. Birthday posies were presented to Rose Tomson, Sue Gray and Joyce Lee and the hostesses Jennifer Chetwynd and Annie Harbrow were complimented and thanked for their contribution. Gill and Jane gave us an update on the business and notices with Gill welcoming new member Carol Bird and Jane making us laugh about her encounter with a gentleman who thought she was fly tipping rather collecting rubbish. Now we settled down as Mark was welcomed and invited to start his talk.

It appears that in the 15th 16th centuries the favourite entertainments were , bear baiting and public executions in the morning followed by a trip across the Thames to the south bank and the red light area, which is where the theatres could be found, for their afternoon delights. The trip across the river was something the ladies enjoyed as the boatmen were a pretty rough tough lot whose language was foul causing said ladies to swoon in delighted horror, strange!. Most theatres were open to the elements , maybe a village or town market place where a platform could be erected at one end so that all could come and see the performance. The globe theatre was custom built in the round and although originally without a roof it had plenty of tiered seating. At each section stood a boy with a box collecting pennies from the audience and these boxes were taken to an office before the performance started, for security, and this became known as the box office. The crowds who stood in the main area were there for the full length of the performance , no way out no conveniences , if nature called it was answered on the spot, delightful. Mark took us through the history of the Globe and other theatres, regaled us with some gruesome tales and generally held us enthralled throughout his presentation and we were fascinated and horrified in equal measures.

After a question and answer session Jean Morgan thanked Mark for treating us to a fascinating history lesson enjoyed by all and refreshments were served by our hostesses. A little more business was conducted as we enjoyed our refreshments and the raffle was drawn to complete our evening. We were reminded that we have two sets of indoor kurling stones that are available for hire so please let us know if you would like to try them

Prue Rush

February 2016

WI Feb 2St Valentines day and red was the theme for the February meeting of the Stradbroke W.I. and my word everybody joined in with this most colourful and happy spectacle , laughing and chattering through the evening. Fifty shades of grey had nothing on us , we were fifty shades of red and loving it. Everybody wore something red from jewellery down to shoes, red hearts decorated the tables and the mood was lively from start to finish .Gill and Jane took us through the business section and welcomed the members and visitors to the evenings’ activities and was pleased to inform us that we have two new members who have just joined.  The hostesses Rose and Prue were thanked for the birthday posies and table decoration , which of course were red roses, the posies being presented to new member Carrie Barnes  and new committee member Patricia Woodward. Patricia was also our speaker  for the evening showing us the basics of felt making using colourful wools , bubble wrap ,a bamboo mat, some soapy water ,not to mention plenty of elbow grease. Rose and Vera joined in the demonstration each making a colourful piece of felt and Patricia talked about the history and original uses of felt and, in good Blue Peter fashion, showed us some attractive pieces which she had made earlier.

WI Feb mtg 1The vote of thanks was given by Jennifer Chetwynd , roundly supported by the audience, and  refreshments followed , the Valentine theme continuing with the heart shaped cookies on offer. To make the evening perfect a third new member signed on the dotted line and joined our happy band, splendid. The evening closed and the scarlet plumed ladies of the W.I. fluttered away into the night like a chattering flock of exotic birds.

Prue Rush

Next meeting will be on March 10th when Mark Mitchel will talk about the Globe Theatre. All very welcome do come.

January 2016

Our January meeting began with our new President and Secretary sitting at the top table sporting L plates. By the end of a very successful evening, these could be safely dispensed with.
Business was kept to a minimum with the aid of information boards on each table. Birthday buttonholes, beautifully made by our hostesses of the evening, Jane Johnson and Vivienne Goffee, were presented.
Our speaker for the evening was our WI member Prue Rush, giving us an account of the second part of her journey through her nursing training. As a newly qualified Staff Nurse, she was given her uniform, including dog collar and bonnet. She told us how proud and important she felt in her new post, until, at the end of the first day on the ward, she was called urgently to an emergency in the bathroom, where she was unceremoniously dropped into a bath of cold water. She gave a very amusing account of some of the cases she dealt with, including one poor soul who was in a state of alcohol withdrawal, and had to be given a drip containing a measured amount to keep him calm. She concluded with her move back to Suffolk with twenty five years as the surgeries' Practise Nurse. I am sure this would make a wonderful third talk, but might be a little too revealing for some people!
The vote of thanks was given by Caroline Traylen.

Carol Darling