Monthly Reviews

27th March

Our speaker for the meeting was Wally Webb, who was accompanied by his wife Sheri.  Wally was a well known BBC Radio Norfolk presenter and he entertained us very amusingly for an hour with tales of his career in radio.  He started in 1980 as a part time disc jockey around Norfolk while still serving in the RAF, stationed at RAF Coltishall.  His first job being on the top of a double decker bus in Eaton Park.  His talent was soon spotted by the producers of the newly formed Radio Norfolk where he stayed until the onslaught of the Covid pandemic in 2020, leaving his studio in March of that year and never returning.   During his career he took part in many fund-raising events including wrestling matches, stock car driving, riding a penny farthing and collecting green shield stamps which raised over £10,000.  We heard about his meetings with Noel Edmonds, Paul Daniels, Des O'Connor as well as many other famous celebrities, even Mr Blobby!   He finished his talk with a busy question and answer session.

Wally was good enough to judge our competition, a famous line from an old radio show, which was won by Carol Culley with “Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin” from Listen with Mother.

After our refreshments (with delicious home made cakes, of course!) members were brought up to date on all the activities of our various groups  and given reminders of upcoming events and outings. We also had a read out of the Federation Annual Meeting which had taken place earlier in the month by Clare Pollock.  It had been an enjoyable event, especially with guest speaker Janet Street Porter.

Our Spring Fair will take place in April and our members were very generous in their donations of items for the various stalls.  This is a fun event and always brings in funds for our educational outings.

The thought for the month was radio-related and (allegedly) from Marilyn Munro:  “It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.”

Our previously booked speaker for next month's meeting, Julie Porter with her Murder, Mystery, has unfortunately had to cancel.  So we have Jenny Hubbard, who will be giving a presentation entitled “Educating women at Cambridge”.

28th February 2024

A busy meeting, this month.  We had our Annual Meeting when we welcomed three new ladies on to our Committee and confirmed our President for another year.  It was lovely to have our WI Adviser, Carol Cousins, attend and tell us about her role in the Federation.

Annual Meeting over, we had a fun, noisy and informative refreshment break when we played "Getting to Know You Bingo" - all very enlightening, although we didn't manage to find anyone sporting a tattoo!  See pictures below.

There was further business after our tea and cake, when members were informed of what our various subgroups are getting up to, and we were brought up to date with upcoming events for our WI and through the Federation.  A group of members had enjoyed an outing to the Victoria & Albert Museum earlier in the month, and the President had prepared a short fun quiz on what the ladies might have come across at the museum.

Several members are looking forward to going to the Federation Annual Meeting taking place on 18th March at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

Our speaker at our next meeting at the end of March is Wally Webb, who will be talking about his career as a BBC Radio Norfolk Presenter, and our competition will be a famous line from an old radio show.

The thought for the month was:  "Whatever you do, always give 100%. Unless you’re donating blood.” – Bill Murray

24th January 2024

What a start to 2024:  a really fun meeting, with the fabulous Stuff & Folly team entertaining us with their hilarious sketches.  The final sketch involved everyone joining in with Kazoos and making silly noises - we were all very much in touch with our inner child and really enjoying it.

After refreshments, we got down to the serious stuff:  discussing the four proposed WI Resolutions for 2024 and subsequently voting on the one we wanted to be taken forward:  The Impacts of Poor Housing Conditions.

And looking ahead to our next meeting - our Annual Meeting - members were asked to think about, and nominate those they would like to see join the Committee.

We also heard about the activities of our various sub committees, our future outings and upcoming events as advertised by Federation Office.

So a busy but very enjoyable meeting.  It was lovely to be back in the swing of things after the short Christmas break!

The thought for the month was:  “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” -  Albert Einstein

13th December 2023

Our Christmas lunch at The Crown in Great Ellingham!  We had a great turn out, with lots of ladies in the mood to celebrate the season.  The Crown did us proud, with a delicious lunch and great service.  We also had a special Christmas raffle with some fabulous prizes, including a fabulous Christmas cake made by Kate Edwards.  A really enjoyable afternoon.

22nd November 2023

There was a definite Christmas vibe to this month's meeting.  Betty Stacey, our very own Craft aficionado,  brought along to the meeting specially made-up kits for each member containing all the necessary bits and pieces to make a pretty Christmas tree decoration:  even the less than gifted crafters amongst us managed to create a pleasing little ornament.  Heads were down whilst everyone was busy sewing, but that didn't stop the chat and laughter!  During our refreshment break, heads were down again while we played a short Christmas quiz - guessing the name of the Christmas carol from the initial letters.

There was quite a lot of business to discuss: we did very well at our Autumn Fair at St Mary's the previous week;  the latest mailings from Federation Office about the Annual Meetings next year, the WI Resolutions for 2024, and other upcoming events, as well as the activities of our Craft, Cookery, Book and Walk and Talk groups.

There will not be a meeting in December; instead we will be enjoying our Christmas lunch at The Crown in Great Ellingham on13th December. The meeting finished with the Raffle and a couple of Thoughts for the Month, which sent everyone home with a smile on our faces.

25th October 2023

This month we celebrated our 87th Birthday with fun and games.  And cake, of course!

Our first game was Handbag Bingo.  Members, having been pre-warned, arrived with bulging handbags.  Betty asked us all to stay standing while she called out a selection of items (eg a comb, a lottery ticket, handcream etc); if we didn't have an item, we had to sit down; the last one standing won.  We enjoyed this so much, we played three games!

Then onto the cake (see picture below).  This was made by Hilda Bond and was really enjoyed by everyone - it was absolutely delicious.  We also had some fizzy non-alcoholic grape juice to accompany the cake.

After our refreshments, the President presented to Eileen Bowhill a certificate congratulating her on her 50 year membership of Attleborough WI, together with an orchid.

Our next game was a chance to get in touch with our inner child: Pass the Parcel!  Within the various layers of the parcel, members found sweets or a forfeit (eg wearing a hat till the end of the meeting, or rubbing your tummy and patting your head), until the final layer revealed a little present.

The meeting was fairly light on the business side of things, but members heard about the activities of our various sub groups and what was in store in the future.   We are all looking forward to our trip to the Christmas Cromer Pier show with a fish and chip lunch and also to our Christmas lunch in December.

Our competition this month was quite difficult:  members had to guess the Committee member from a photograph of them taken as babies as quite a few years had elapsed since the taking of the photographs!

We finished as usual with our raffle, and a few interesting and uplifting Thoughts of the Month.

Our next meeting will be on 22nd November when Betty Stacey will be helping us create a Christmas decoration.

27th September 2023

Our speaker this month was Jenny Gibbs on Turkish Cuisine.  Jenny lives, with her partner Mustafa, for much of the year in a small village in Turkey. Jenny was wearing beautiful traditional Turkish dress and we learnt something of the way of life for families in rural Turkey.   Cooking is done by the ladies of the village outside the house, over an open fire, mainly with locally grown vegetables (very little meat eaten in the villages).   Jenny was able to illustrate this with various photographs she had brought along and she kindly supplied some leaflets with recipes for us to try at home.  Life in the villages sounded very simple yet idyllic and members said they hoped that this would never change.  Jenny was very happy to answer questions from members.  Jenny had also brought along with her lots of lovely shawls and pashminas for sale - a great opportunity to stock up on early Christmas presents!  Members really enjoyed her talk and it is hoped to have Jenny back to Attleborough WI in the near future.

Onto the business, after refreshments, there was a report on  our Art, Craft & Cookery Show the previous month.  It was a successful and enjoyable Show and we will be holding another show next year; the schedule for which will issue in January/February.  Committee members also reported on the activities of their particular groups: the Craft Group; the Book Club, the Walk 'n Talk group and the Cookery Club.  All very busy and thriving!

We also had read-out of the Guiltcross meeting  which was held in Old Buckenham on 21stSeptember which several members of Attleborough WI attended.  Guiltcross is a group of six WIs which get together twice a year and is a great opportunity to meet members from these WIs.  The speaker at the meeting in September was Mr Lynton Johnson on Royal Commemorative China.  He had brought with him lots of interesting pieces of china which Mr Johnston told us all about.

Before the end of the meeting we had the usual raffle with five lucky winners, and the President reminded members that it will be our 87th birthday in October and we will be celebrating at our meeting on 25th October with, of course, cake and a bit of a party!

Jenny 1Jenny 2

23rd August 2023

We held our Art, Craft & Cookery Show in the morning of our August meeting.  The Show was open to members of the public as well as members of the WI.

The show is an opportunity for entrants to show off their skills in art, photography, floral art and plants, various cookery classes and handicrafts, in a total of 23 classes in all.  We had some 100 or so entries which our highly skilled judges carefully evaluated;  they all remarked on the very high standard of entries.  Attleborough WI members arrived for the afternoon meeting a little earlier than usual in order to be able to spend time admiring the entries.

Our President, Genevieve, had recently visited Bangkok and Myanmar on holiday, and she gave a presentation on her holiday, illustrating her talk with lots of colourful slides, which members enjoyed.

After our refreshments, Attleborough WI’s adviser, Carol Cousins, a guest at the meeting, kindly presented the prizes to the winners of each of the five sections of the show.  Carol was delighted to announce that the overall winner was Hilda Bond, who gained the most points, and presented her with a lovely engraved trophy.

Our usual Business part of the meeting covered reports by our various groups:  Craft, the Book Club, the Walk and Talk group and the Cookery Club, as well as an update on planned outings, and future events arranged.

The Raffle this month included some lovely prizes, with eight lucky winners.  The President ended the meeting with several pertinent Thoughts for the Month – including one or two from members themselves – and a reminder that at our Meeting in September we will have a speaker: Jenny Gibbs talking to us about Turkish cookery.  The competition for September will be a photograph of an exotic meal.

  • Hilda Flowers

Bara Briths Handicrafts

26th July 2023

Our speaker this month was Bruce Martin from Swallowtail Preserves.  Bruce had brought along a huge range of his jams and pickles for us to taste and buy.  He told us about how he turned his hobby into a business on retiring in 2022.   He uses local produce for his jams and pickles and also forages for fruit.  It was interesting to hear about the science behind his venture and also all the rules and regulations he has to follow in order to sell at local fairs and businesses.   Members were able to ask Bruce about ingredients used and his various methods of cooking.  A most interesting talk, particularly for our many members who make their own jams.  We were able to taste a large variety of his jams and pickles with little biscuits he had thoughtfully brought along.  This naturally resulted in most of us buying several jars to take home!

The talk was followed by our refreshment time with lovely home-made cake and a chance to have a natter with friends. It was then time for the business side of the meeting, with the President and other members of the Committee detailing all the upcoming events for the WI.  Things to look forward to include the Autumn Federation Meetings in the county which are always interesting, as well as our own outings, coffee mornings and meetings of our Craft Group, Book Club, the Walk 'n Talk and Cookery Groups.

The President reminded members about our Art, Craft and Cookery Show on 23rd August when it is hoped there everyone will participate by entering some of the classes involved:  art , photography, cookery and plants and floral art - lots to choose from.  Judging will take place in the morning, with the winners announced in the afternoon.  Always an enjoyable meeting.

28th June 2023

This month’s meeting was a Royal Celebration!  The Hall looked the part, with lots of Union Jack bunting, the tables all laid out for our special tea and a huge throne taking centre stage!   Members too looked great, wearing red, white and blue.  We were delighted to welcome to our meeting a couple of special guests:  Margaret Collingwood, our Federation Chairman, and Louise Casson, the Federation Secretary.

We quickly worked our way through the business of the day, informing members what the various sub-groups have been up to, and what’s on the cards for the next few weeks, before settling down to enjoy some delicious cakes and goodies baked by some very kind members, with tea and coffee.

After our tea we had a special Royal Quiz, with Kathleen Burgess amusingly calling out the questions and keeping us all in line.  There was a slight hiccup when two tables appeared to be the winner but with a last minute tie breaker, a winner was found and small prizes awarded.

For our competition we asked members to bring in an item of royal memorabilia and several really interesting items were displayed.  Members voted by placing a piece of silver (5p) next to their favourite item and a lovely little Coronation teddy bear was declared the winner.  We also then had the opportunity to hear about the items, with one member, Brenda, telling us about her father’s fascinating job working for the Royal Family.

Our raffle too took on a royal theme with suitable prizes.

We ended our meeting with a rendition of God Save the King (beautifully led by Margaret Collingwood), and a reminder of our next meeting in July when we are going to hear from Bruce Martin, and all about his pickles.


24th May 2023

There was lots to do and talk about at our May meeting, especially with the Federation Annual Meeting and the National WI Annual Meeting taking place this week.

We started off discussing the WI’s proposed resolution for 2023/4:CLEAN RIVERS for PEOPLE and WILDLIFE.   Ann Kirkness did a great job talking about the various pros and cons of taking this resolution forward and members had short debate on the subject before the vote was taken.  The result was19 FOR, with 7 AGAINST, with one abstention.  Susan Hunter from Old Buckenham WI had joined us for the meeting and as our delegate, would take our vote to the Annual Meeting.

Clare Pollock then gave us an entertaining and informative account of the Federation Annual Meeting which had taken place in Norwich the day before. A group of about ten Attleborough WI members had attended – and very much enjoyed - the meeting.

We touched on the recent outing to Oxburgh Hall which was a great success and much enjoyed by everyone who went, thanks to Betty Stacey, our Outings Secretary.  Betty reminded us the outing was paid for through our fund-raising efforts and urged us to continue to support where we can.

Members were then brought up to date with the various goings on in our groups. The Craft Group will next be meeting on 5thJune; the Book Group, currently reading “Magpie”, will meet on 20thJune; and the next Walk 'n Talk outing will be on 15thJune around Old Buckenham Country Park; the Cookery Group will next meet on 19thJune in the Town Hall when we’ll be cooking risottos, and finally members were reminded that the next coffee morning will take place on 10thJune, again at the Old Buckenham Country Park café.

We all then enjoyed a well earned cuppa before the fun began:  our hectic beetle drive!  We raced through five games with Betty Stacey acting as compere, and, eventually after struggling a bit with the adding up of points, a winner was announced and a prize awarded for the most points while a wooden spoon was given to the lucky lady with the lowest points!

After our ubiquitous raffle, there was a new addition to the agenda: Thought for the Month. This is designed to send us home with a smile on our faces and Genevieve read out some nursery rhymes for the 21stcentury, which seemed to hit the spot!  Hopefully members will join in at the end of each meeting with a short amusing poem, story or saying of their own.

Members are all looking forward to our next meeting which will be a Royal Celebration 28th June ... with cake!

26th April 2023

We welcomed Simon White from Peter Beales Roses as our speaker this month.  He managed to completely cover four whole tables of wonderful plants and vegetables in order to demonstrate how to plant containers for the Spring, and most of these were for sale too.  What a great speaker Simon is!  He chatted away with lots of useful information, hints and tips while he deftly planted a colourful hanging basket with a lovely selection of bedding plants.  He then moved on to his vegetable container which he planted with tomato plants and runner beans specially for hanging baskets - an unusual choice of plants but which will look - and taste - wonderful once they've matured.

Our members really enjoyed Simon's talk and demonstration, but we had to move on to our refreshment time then the business side of things:  we had much to discuss with the Federation Annual Meeting and the National Federation Annual Meeting both coming up in May.  Margaret Luscombe also gave us a read-out of the Guiltcross Meeting that quite a few of us attended in April.  This was an enjoyable meeting, with a speaker from Medical Detection Dogs - really interesting. The Guiltcross Meetings are a good opportunity to meet some ladies from the other WIs in our Group.

We had lots of chocolates left over from the Chocolate Tombola stall at the Spring Fair so, in addition to our usual Raffle, there was a good chance for everyone to win some goodies.

Quite a long meeting this month, but one which we all enjoyed.

22nd March 2023 and Our Annual Meeting

Ahead of the serious business of the Annual Meeting, we sang Jerusalem together as usual and carried out the business side of things, informing members of our upcoming outings (Oxburgh Hall on 18th May, Peter Beales Garden Party on 13th June plus a trip to the theatre to see Annie on 2nd August).  We also reminded everyone of our Spring Fair taking place in St Mary's Church on 14th April which is always a good fund raiser for us.

The Annual Meeting involved hearing the Financial Report from our Treasurer, Ann Kirkness; a round up of the previous year's events by our Secretary, Anne Tinker, and then a thanks by the President to all those who work to hard to make Attleborough WI such a thriving and enjoyable group.  Nine ladies had been nominated by members to serve on the Committee and they were duly re-elected.  From this new Committee, members voted for the President  and Genevieve Wicks was nominated, continuing for a further term.  The Annual Meeting closed with a vote of thanks by Betty Stacey to all those involved.

Our WI Adviser, Carole Cousins, joined us for this special meeting and gave a short interesting talk on the role of a WI Adviser before refreshments were served.  Once everyone had settled down, we had a "Show and Tell", with members proudly wearing necklaces, pearls, earrings and rings that had been worn by their mothers -  it was interesting and touching to hear the short anecdotes on the history behind the jewellery.

We rounded off this busy afternoon with a Handbag Bingo, compered by Anne Tinker.  A bit of fun with members delving around in their handbags to find items read out by Anne.    A winner was found quite quickly – Christine Harrison, whose birthday it also happened to be!

After the raffle, the President reminded members of our next meeting on 26th April when we'll be having a demonstration by Peter Beales on creating a Spring container, with a competition of a photograph of Spring flowers.

22nd February 2023

Attleborough WI were delighted to welcome the Norfolk Blood Bikers to our February meeting.  We listened to an excellent presentation by one of the volunteers, while the other two were on hand to answer any questions and help those of us - and there were quite a few! - who wanted to have a sit on their motorbike which they brought with them.  There was also an interesting and informative video detailing a typical night time journey of a volunteer.

During refreshment time, members were asked to write down nominations for new committee members, ahead of our Annual Meeting in March, so there was much toing and froing while everyone checked with other ladies if they wished to stand.

There was quite a lot of information for members during the Business part of the meeting, with details of our upcoming outings, our Spring Fair in April and the goings on of our various groups, and unfortunately we ran out of time to hold our Handbag Bingo but it's hoped we'll have time for that at our next meeting.

Next month will be our Annual Meeting when members pay their subscriptions for the new WI year, and the new Committee and President are confirmed.

25th January 2023

The theme of this meeting was Resolutions – our own personal resolutions and the proposed WI Resolutions for 2023.  We were inspired – and in some cases amused - by several members’ own resolutions for the new year.

Members were asked to consider which of the four shortlisted WI Resolutions for 2022-3 they would like to see taken forward by the WI. There was a short presentation of each resolution by a Committee member, followed by a chance for members to air their views on them.  The Resolutions were

-Save our Water – Every Drop Matters;

-Women to Women – Turning over a new leaf in the lives of women tea workers;

-Online Gambling Harm: Time for Action; and

-Clean Rivers for people and wildlife.

After some thoughtful comments and a short discussion by Members on these resolutions, voting took place, the voting slips collected and counted.  The outcome was as follows:

Save our Water:  3 votes

Women to Women: 1 vote

Online Gambling Harm:  18 votes

Clean Rivers: 4 votes

During our tea and coffee and biscuit break, we all enjoyed one of Anne Tinker’s quizzes, this time on Dances.  After much discussion and head scratching, three tables managed to score 17 out of 19 points, so with the help of a tie breaker question, one clever table was awarded prizes for each player.

We then had a brief bit of business, outlining what the various Groups have been up to, together with details of our future events and outings, and the meeting ended with our Raffle.  Everyone is looking forward to our meeting in February when we’ll have a talk on the work of the Norfolk Blood Bikes.

All eyes down for Anne Tinkers' Quiz!

7th December 2022 - Our Christmas Lunch

This year the venue for our lunch was the Crown at Great Ellingham - a great choice by our Outings Secretary, Ruth Roberts.  The Crown gave us our own private room; just as well as there were thirty-five of us, so the sound levels were quite high!

We had all decided on our menu choices some time ago so for some of us it was a bit of a surprise when our delicious main courses were served!  After a really enjoyable meal, Eileen donned her Mrs Santa hat, and, with her helpful Elf, Bridget, distributed the Secret Santa presents.  Everyone had really gone out of their way to find and wrap beautifully their little gift for other members. This is a tradition most enjoyed by our ladies.

At the end of the meal, the President thanked the wonderful staff of the Crown for making our special occasion so successful, and wished everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year.

23rd November 2022

This was our last formal meeting of the year in the Town Hall, and very enjoyable it was too.  Our Speaker for the meeting was Pauline Parnell-Hopkinson, who demonstrated creating flower arrangements from seasonal flowers and foliage, as well as using some Christmas decorations in the arrangements.  Pauline chatted most entertainingly whilst she expertly produced three beautiful centrepieces for our Christmas tables, which were included in our Raffle at the end of the meeting - three members went home very happy!

The President reminded members of various upcoming events, most notably our Christmas lunch in December  to be held at The Crown in Great Ellingham which everyone's looking forward to. Genevieve also mentioned the new Cookery Club which would be meeting in December in the Town Hall.  Hilda Bond  will be demonstrating how to make a Magic Mushroom cake ... sounds interesting.  There was a reminder too of our Autumn Fair to be held in the St Mary's church hall, which is always a great fundraiser for us.

26th October 2022

This month we celebrated our 86th Birthday.  We had had such an enjoyable time in May with our Platinum Jubilee Tea Party that we thought we would repeat the format.  So we had another street party style tea party, only this time with entertainment.  The singer, Patsy-Rose, had a wonderful repertoire of songs, and we all sang along to some well-loved tunes, old and new; there was even a bit of dancing in the aisles!  Tea then followed and we enjoyed lots of delicious cakes which members had kindly made for the event.  The party ended with a special birthday poem written by our resident poet, Pat O'Mahony (see below).  We were delighted to welcome to our tea party guests from Old Buckenham WI, Susan Hunter and Sheila Young,  and Ron Brewer, who has judged for so many of our Arts and Crafts Shows.

The meeting then continued with the business side of things, with the President and the Committee informing members of future events, details of our upcoming outings ("The Nutcracker" at Norwich Theatre, and our Christmas lunch in December), as well as reports from the Sub Groups - the Craft Group, the Book Club, and the Walk 'N Talk group.  There was some discussion on forming new sub groups, eg one for entering competitions such as the WI Centenary Salver competition, and a Cookery Group.  It is hoped that enough members will be keen to join these groups.

Our raffle this month was for five beautiful patchwork items made and donated by Betty Stacey, and members were delighted to win these.

Quite a long meeting this month, which so much going on, but everyone really enjoyed themselves.  We're looking forward to our speaker next month who will be demonstrating three flower arrangements for Christmas.

28th September 2022

We started our meeting this month with one minute’s silence in honour of HM The Queen, and our Secretary, Anne Tinker, read out a short poem, while remembering Her Majesty.

There was no need to introduce to members our speaker for the month; it was our very own Betty Stacey, who was talking to us about quilting, a subject very dear to her heart.  Betty described the very many varied types of quilting, showing us pictures and quilted items which were passed around the members to have a closer look at. It was interesting to learn about the origins of this form of crafting. We were shown a couple of beautiful quilts made by the Red Cross in Canada during the World War II which were much admired by our members.  A fascinating talk, after which Anne Tinker thanked Betty.

Refreshments were then served. During this time condolence sheets were also circulated which members could sign and add a comment to, for inclusion in the Federation Condolence Book.

The President then spoke about the Arts, Crafts and Cookery Show which had been held that morning in the Town Hall. Members had been able to view all the exhibits before the start of our meeting.  There were many entries from members for the various classes and the Judges and their Stewards, as well as the helpers over the morning did a grand job. The Stewards were Sue Lowe, Jenny Amos, Jenny Boyce and Hilda Bond. And the helpers were Barbara Fisher, Chris Harrison and Clare Pollock.  All were handed a small bouquet of flowers by way of thanks.  The judges also received a gift card each.

There were five prizes for the best in class and the winners were:

Art:  Betty Stacey, with 5 points; Photography:  Anne Tinker, with 9 points; Pots, Vases and Floral Art:  Mary Nicholls, with 8 points; Cookery:  Genevieve Wicks, 8 points; Handicrafts:  Jenny Amos, 7 points.

Overall points awarded were: 1st Betty Stacey:  17 points; 2ndAnne Tinker:  12 points and 3rd(joint)  Ann Kirknes and Genevieve Wicks11 points.

The Show was a really enjoyable event and it is hoped that it will be repeated possibly on an annual basis.

There was just time for a brief bit of business.  The President mentioned the Guiltcross Group meeting which was held on 15th September and hosted by Old Buckenham WI.  This was a well-attended meeting by the various members of the group, with an interesting speaker from the Street Forge Workshop.  Woodwork items made by those attending the Street Forge Workshop were available for viewing and also for sale to members.

Our future events include our next Coffee Morning on 14th October and will be held in The Stag.  Our Christmas lunch this year will be at The Crown in Great Ellingham for 7th December. On 8th October we will be hosting a refreshments stall at the Council Book fair in the Town Hall, where tea, coffee and home made cakes will be on sale.  Members were reminded that the12th November is the Old Buckenham Craft Day.  Remembrance Day this year is on Sunday 13 November, and the President will be laying, on behalf of our WI, the knitted poppy wreath made by our craft members last year.  Our Autumn Fair will be held on 26th November at the Town Hall, where wee will have the usual stalls ie raffle, tombola, bric-a-brac, and cakes.

Members were reminded that our next meeting will be on 26th October and it will be our 86th Birthday and we will have a tea party.

Finally, Pat O’Mahony read out her winning entry for the Federation Poetry Competition:  “Tea for Two”.  This was much enjoyed by everyone.

The Meeting closed with members singing The National Anthem.

24th August 2022

We mixed it up a bit at our meeting this month.  Not just to make it a little more interesting, but because our speaker couldn’t get to us by the usual start time of 1.30pm.

So we sang Jerusalem and then got down to the business straight away.  There was quite a lot to report from our various sub groups – the outing to Thursford and coffee mornings in Old Buckenham Country park, a cinema trip to see the latest Fisherman’s Friends film, and updates on the Craft Group, the Walk ‘N Talk Group and the new Gardeners’ Group…. quite a lot going on.  Members were then informed of future events our WI is involved in, including hosting a refreshments stall at the Town Council Arts Show, as well as a meeting of the Guilt Cross Group of WIs which Attleborough WI has just joined.  The President also reminded members that our next meeting will be our Arts, Crafts & Cookery Show when she hoped there would be lots of entries from our members in the various classes.

After refreshments, our speaker, Juliet Webster, had arrived and was ready to address us.  Juliet has published a book entitled “The Yellow Caravan”, an amusing account of three young ladies touring Norfolk in a horse-drawn caravan 100 years ago. Juliet re-traced the original journey of the Yellow Caravan from Castle Rising in the west, through the undulating scenery of the Norfolk Heights, along the north Norfolk coast of sand dunes, mud flats, salt marshes and shingle ridges to Cromer and Overstrand cliffs; then down through the reed beds and peat marshes of Broadland, thence through the stunning scenery of south Norfolk before heading home across the Brecks to West Norfolk’s heathlands; places members recognise today.  We were also interested to see some photographs of the ladies and a similar caravan, as well as a beautifully illustrated map of their journey.

After a few questions from the audience, the President thanked Juliet for giving us a most entertaining and interesting talk.

The competition this month was a photograph of a favourite Norfolk Holiday.  There in fact wasn’t much competition, with only three entries and Genevieve Wicks won with her picture of beach huts in Cromer.   The raffle followed and five lucky ladies went home with prizes.

The President wound up this month’s meeting with a reminder of the Arts, Crafts & Cookery Show on 28thSeptember, reiterating that she hoped to see lots of entries from members.

11th July 2022

Attleborough WI was delighted to welcome our speaker for this month, Lois Gill, with her talk entitled "An Audience with Her Knitted Majesty".

Standing in front of a large screen, Lois introduced herself by explaining that her Petal & Purl group met regularly in gardens and knitted all sorts of wonderful items for a local festival. The group was invited to a craft fair at The Forum in February, which gave them six months to prepare their exhibit of The Queen to celebrate her 66thAnniversary.   The group knitted strips which were then assembled, copying the famous Norman Hartnell dress, complete with Commonwealth emblems. When Lois at last pulled back the screen a life-sized model of The Queen was revealed, in full royal regalia, and there was an audible gasp from our members.  Lois then draped the Queen’s cloak (which looked just like ermine) on the model’s shoulders, and finally added the crown.  It was all very impressive.

We learnt that this was Her Knitted Majesty’s last outing, so we feel very honoured.  Lois is as yet undecided about where the model will end up.  Members very much hope that it will be in a museum, to be enjoyed by members of the public.

Lois was kind enough to judge our competition for the month: a hand-made knitted item, and the winner was Barbara Fisher with her gorgeous knitted rabbit.

After some refreshment time, and a chance to have a closer look at Her Majesty, our meeting continued with the President conducting the usual WI business with updates on events and outings, the latest from Federation Office, and finally our Raffle, with five lucky winners.

22nd June 2022

Attleborough WI welcomed its members and guests to our monthly meeting in the Town Hall.  After our rendition of “Jerusalem”, the President introduced this month’s speaker, Mr Peter Lawrence.

Mr Lawrence was going to speak to us about Medieval East Anglian churches but unfortunately had discovered at the last minute that his laptop was no longer working, so, Mr Lawrence, thinking fast on his feet, told us all instead about his life as a policeman.  This talk, entitled “The Policeman’s Lot” started with a fascinating description of his experiences on the beat in the east end of London as a “rookie” policeman.  He then progressed to his time with the Diplomatic Protection Group where he worked closely with London embassies on security issues, as well as with the Royal family.  Mr Lawrence related several interesting – and very amusing – stories of people he had met along the way.  Now retired for some time, Mr Lawrence has close links with the WI and Denman, giving a wide variety of talks both at Denman At Home and in person at WIs.

Members really enjoyed hearing about Mr Lawrence’s time as a policeman, and it’s hoped we can have him back to Attleborough WI to hear his talk on Medieval East Anglian churches.

After our refreshment break, we heard reports from our various sub committees. Several outings have been planned and members were reminded of dates and the timings for these.  The Craft and Book Clubs continue to be well attended and enjoyed by members.  A new group, the Gardeners’ Group, has just formed, initially to plant and maintain our Platinum Jubilee rose garden in St Mary’s churchyard; it is hoped that the group will go on to meet regularly, share gardening tips and cuttings etc, and visit each other’s gardens.

Betty Stacey recently attended the National Annual Meeting in Liverpool as our Delegate.  She was due to give us a read out of the meeting but unfortunately was unwell and could not attend our meeting.  However she kindly did a comprehensive and interesting write up for us which was read out by Ann Kirkness.

The President informed members that Attleborough WI has been invited to join the Gilt Cross Group of WIs. This group consists of five WIs:  Old Buckenham, East Harling, Tibenham, Garboldisham and Eccles.The President explained that groups of WIs have more spending power when it comes to speakers and the meetings are a great opportunity to meet other WI members outside our own group. Members were asked to vote on whether they wished to join this group and the majority voted in favour.

There was a disappointing lack of submissions for our competition, a photograph of a favourite East Anglian Church, with in fact only one entrant: Janet Brinkworth’s photo of a church was lovely, and judging therefore, by Peter Lawrence, was easy!

Finally, members were reminded that at our next meeting,  27th July, the speaker will be Lois Gill on “Petal and Purl”, an Audience with Her Knitted Majesty.  Competition:  A favourite hand made knitted item.

25th May 2022

Our May Meeting celebrated The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a special tea.  And we had a special guest, Margaret Collingwood, the Chairman of Norfolk Federation, who kindly spoke for a few minutes.  We had just about a full house of members, each of them wearing a special hat (as requested by me), with the decorated tables in the style of a street party – a wonderful sight.

But before the festivities, we had the business to attend to which included the latest info from Federation Office,  our upcoming outings,  and our other groups’ activities. But the major business of the day was to vote on the WI Resolution – Women and girls with ASD and ADHD – under-identified, under-diagnosed, mis-diagnosed, under-supported. Ruth Roberts, a member of the Committee, led us through the background to the proposal, and there was discussion of the pros and cons of taking this further forward, before members voted, by a large majority, in favour of the Resolution.  This result will be taken to the National Annual Meeting in June in Liverpool by our Delegate, Betty Stacey.

Members were also asked to vote on whether they approved of an expenditure of up to £100 on a small rose garden in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, to be sited in the St Mary’s Churchyard.  The expenditure would include an engraved plaque which would state that the rose garden was planted by Attleborough WI.   A Gardeners’ Sub-Group would need to be formed in order to plant and maintain the garden. Members were in favour of the idea and voted for the proposal.

Finally, just before tea was served, Pat O’Mahony read out a wonderful poem she had written for us on this special occasion,  and it was received with delight by members.  Then Margaret Collingwood distributed a little gift to each of the members – a Jubilee Pin Badge – bought from our Attleborough WI funds.

And our tea party commenced!  There was a wide variety of delicious cakes, baked by our talented Committee, served on cake stands, with the tea and coffee brought to the tables – all much enjoyed by our members.

Our competition this month was a favourite tea cup and saucer and we had a bumper amount of entries.  Margaret kindly judged the competition, which was won by Margaret Addy with her very pretty blue and white cup and saucer.

Finally we had our raffle, consisting of jubilee-themed prizes, with six lucky winners.

Our happy and sated members were finally sent on their merry way, with the reminder that at our next meeting, on 22nd June, we will have a speaker on Medieval East Anglian Churches, and that the competition will be a photograph of a favourite East Anglian Church.

27th April 2022

We welcomed several visitors to our April meeting, together with a good number of our members, obviously all keen to join in our very popular activity, the Beetle Drive.

Betty Stacey was our compere and gave us clear instructions on how the game was to be played.  There were four ladies to each table, and each lady had a scorecard on which to construct her beetle, depending on her score with each throw of the dice.  Every one of us was keen to be first to complete her beetle and it was quite a race, with everyone throwing their dice madly in order to win.  Once a table had one, the losing couple moved onto the next table, so it was quite a frenetic half an hour or so.  We all enjoyed the game so much that we persuaded Betty to play an extra couple of rounds. Prizes went to the first two winners, with a “booby” prize (a very nice address book!) for the lowest score.  Betty herself was presented with a prize as thanks for all her hard work!

Members were then very happy to relax and have their refreshments, before we moved on to the business side of things.

A member of the Committee, Eileen Bowhill, gave us a readout of our Spring Fair which took place on 23 April.  We raised a wonderful £312 from the sale of our cakes, the bric-a-brac, the raffle and the sweet tombola; these funds will go towards supplementing our outings, buying give aways for members, and keeping the WI coffers in a healthy state.  Eileen mentioned that the helpers – Anne Kirkness, Ruth Roberts, Shirley Miller, Bridget Barnard, Janet Brinkworth, Hilda Bond and Genevieve Wicks – who all had an enjoyable morning at the St Mary’s Church and encouraged other members to volunteer to help at future events.

Several outings have been organised by Ruth, our Outings Secretary and there is much interest from members in joining the lunch and tour at Peter Beales, a visit to Bircham Windmill and a trip to see The Nutcracker at Norwich Theatre in the coming months.  Our coffee mornings will also be restarting in May at the Old Buckenham Country Park.

Barbara Fisher informed the members about the trip to see the latest Downton Abbey Film at the cinema in Norwich, travelling to Norwich by train, on 4 November.

Finally, our Walk n Talk Group raised some funds in aid of the ACWW when a group of five of us walked around Whitlingham Broad, followed by coffee and cake.

A bit of a new departure for us:  Kate Binks very kindly organised a plant table with a huge variety of home-grown seedlings and plants donated by her and other members for sale.  Kate’s efforts raised the marvellous sum of £51 for our WI funds.

Our next meeting will be on 25th May we will be hearing about the WI Resolution and subsequently voting on it, followed by a celebratory Platinum Jubilee Tea.

23 March 2022

On a lovely sunny Spring day our members met up once again for a couple of hours of chat and fun.  The Town Hall's double doors were wide open to let in the sunshine and fresh air.  We listened to an inspiring speaker:  Nicky Thomas, who told us all about her work for The Moses Project.  This small project, run by just a few volunteers, provides baskets full of useful items for newborn babies and mums in need.  Nicky showed us a sample basket containing all the basics and more that they provide for new mums, which she personally delivers around Suffolk and into Norfolk.  Our members were impressed and, having been informed ahead of the meeting about the Project, had generously brought along masses of donations for Nicky to take back with her, as our picture below illustrates.  Nicky kindly judged our competition too, deciding upon the winning entry - a gorgeous pink hand-knitted cardigan and hat by Ann Kirkness.

Nicky Thomas and Baskets

Our refreshment time was followed by a bit of business when we had a readout on the Norfolk Federation's Annual Meeting earlier in the week, which had been attended by four of our members - a thoroughly enjoyable day.  We also heard about future outings, the latest book being read by the Book Group, and what the Walk 'n Talk Group has been up to - a lovely walk around the Sculpture Park at the UEA in Norwich;  this group will be walking in aid of the ACWW next month around Whitlingham Broad.

Before we closed, members were reminded that at our next meeting, on  27 April, subscriptions for the new WI year will be due, and that we would also have a Beetle Drive - always great fun!

Genevieve Wicks

23 February 2022

Our speaker this month was Penny Simmonds, a member of the Association of Reflexologists, who spoke to us about hand reflexology.   Penny discussed the many benefits of this therapy in reducing pain, and improving general well being.  We were shown several charts showing reflexology zones in the hands and the feet and pinpointing the different reflex areas.  Penny demonstrated how to massage these points and very helpfully walked around the room to assist individuals in massaging their own hands. A fascinating talk.

We managed to fit in one of Anne Tinker's clever quizzes too:  she had devised a quiz on Insects which got everyone’s thinking caps on.  The winning table achieved a wonderful 13 points and were awarded a prize.

During our refreshment time we had the chance to chat with friends; the Committee  then discussed all our future events,  and we ended with the raffle.  An enjoyable meeting!

Genevieve Wicks

26 January 2022

Our first meeting of the year was well attended by members, who thoroughly enjoyed listening to our speaker, Simon White, of Peter Beales Roses.  Simon spoke entertainingly and knowledgably about Spring bulbs, giving much useful advice and illustrating his talk with some beautiful colour slides.  After answering some questions, we were able to buy some of Peter Beales specialist bulbs and produce.

Voting on the WI Resolutions for 2022 also took place with the majority of members selecting the resolution "Appropriate Sentencing of Non-Violent Women Offenders" as the resolution they would most like to see taken forward by the WI.

Bridget Barnard won the competition with her lovely photograph of  her favourite Spring Bulb.  Before the meeting ended, Members were reminded that at our next meeting in February we would be learning about hand reflexology with Penny Simmonds.

Genevieve Wicks

15 December 2021

We were delighted to be able to hold our Christmas lunch this year in spite of concerns about the Pandemic.  Over thirty of us sat down to a delicious and very well organised lunch at The Breckland Lodge.  There was no WI business discussed, just lots of enjoyable chatter and laughter.  We finished with our very own "Mother" Christmas (Eileen Bowhill) distributing the gifts brought by members for our Secret Santa.

Genevieve Wicks

25 November 2021

It was our 85th Birthday this month, so our normal Members’ Meeting was a special one, particularly as it incorporated our Annual Meeting as well.

Our Birthday Cake

We started with the usual news about upcoming events, and the latest correspondence from Federation Office, then moved on to the Annual Meeting section of the meeting.  We heard from our Treasurer, Ann Kirkness, all about our expenditure in detail over the past year; our Secretary, Anne Tinker, who gave us a run-down of what Attleborough WI has been up to over the past year or so,  what outings we attended, and the speakers who addressed us at our meetings.  Anne thanked all the Committee and the President for their hard work not only over the past year, but over the previous 12 months during the Pandemic when face to face meetings were replaced with virtual meetings, and lots of emails!  Finally the President, Genevieve Wicks, spoke detailing her appreciation of the hard work by the members of the Committee, and other members, which went into making Attleborough WI the thriving, enjoyable group that it is.

The Annual Meeting then confirmed that the current Committee would continue in their roles, en bloc, for the next year.  Betty Stacey oversaw the voting by Members for a President.  Voting papers were distributed and members were asked to choose a candidate from the Committee. It was confirmed that Genevieve would continue to stand for another year.

With the end of the Annual meeting, it was refreshment time, and a delicious home-made birthday cake was served to members, to go with their tea and coffee. Anne Tinker then distributed round the tables one of her ingenious quizzes, this time about Islands, which had everyone conferring with each other and scratching their heads for a bit.  There were winners (15 points for one clever table) with chocolate for prizes.

Finally, four members of the Committee put on a short play:  “Forming a Committee” which was very amusing and much enjoyed by everyone.

Before everyone left, members were reminded about the Christmas lunch taking place on 15 December at the Breckland Lodge and that they should not forget to bring their Secret Santa gift!

Genevieve Wicks

27th October 2021

Our meeting this month, a week before the start of the COP 26, had a climate change and sustainability theme. We had not just one, but two speakers from Breckland Council: Ian Sherwood, who is the Breckland champion for Sustainable Strategy, and Greg Pearson, head of Strategic Policy.  The title of Ian’s talk was “Taking Breckland to Net Zero by 2035 – What does this mean?” and covered the main themes of Breckland Council’s strategy to achieve this goal through sustainability and budgeting.   Greg Pearson gave us more detail on these themes, for example, how Breckland Council is going to phase out its diesel powered refuse trucks by 2035 and the planting of thousands of trees.  Both Ian and Greg were able to answer some questions by our ladies on recycling, the building of new homes and oil storage.  During our refreshment break Ian and Greg made themselves available for further questions.  It was an enlightening talk and we learned much about what is being done on a local level to help combat climate change.

During our tea and coffee break, members were asked for nominations for new Committee members for the coming year, and the President then ran through the business items.  Our upcoming Autumn Fair on 6 November at St Mary’s Church was on the agenda and it is hoped we will have lots of interesting items donated by members for our various stalls there. The President also reminded members that our next meeting, on 27 November, is our Annual Meeting and our 85thBirthday celebration.

Our meeting ended on a very light note:  Anne Tinker and Betty Stacey each read out extremely amusing poems, and our members were still chuckling as we had our Raffle and then pottered off home.

Genevieve Wicks

September 2021

There were some 35 members for this month’s meeting, this time a meeting with a bit of a difference, requiring the full participation of everyone:  we had a Handbag Bingo!  A fairly straightforward quiz with a list of items read out and if that item could be found in your bag, you were awarded points.  Some items were pretty random and unexpected but everyone joined in the fun, one person even having the spare pare of knickers – bonus points!  Prizes for the most, and the least, points were awarded.

During our refreshment time the President reminded us that it is The Great Big Green Week.  We were asked to chat with each other about what we do to help the environment; how do we reuse and recycle items, what hints and tips can we offer.  These were jotted down on a piece of paper and after tea, the President read a few out.  She promised to collate all the ideas and circulate them by email after the meeting. Ruth, a Committee Member, also discussed with members a useful article in the EDP about how to help limit climate change, and there was a lively debate.

Then followed information for members about upcoming events and dates for their diaries.  Members were informed that we would be holding our usual Autumn Fair on 6th November and asked to bring along donations for our stalls at the next meeting.  Our events secretary, Ruth, was also able to confirm that our Christmas Lunch would be going ahead on 15th December at the Breckland Lodge – there was delight all round.

As usual, our raffle was held with several lucky winners, and members were reminded that our next meeting would be on 27th October, when our speaker will be Mr Ian Sherwood from the Breckland Council.

Genevieve Wicks

August  2021

It was lovely to see so many members and quite a few very welcome visitors in the Town Hall again for our August meeting.   The President introduced our speaker for this month:  Mia Hansson who brought along with her a section of her full-scale replica of the Bayeux tapestry.  Our Committee had prepared a nice long table for the tapestry but it wasn’t long enough!  Mia laid out a good nine metres of the tapestry she had done so far, so that members could see the wonderful intricate work for themselves.

Mia then talked most entertainingly about herself – she is Swedish, and a seamstress, and focusses mainly on Viking age clothing and embroidery.  She told us how she came to start this long term project and about how she copies exactly each and every item from a book on the original tapestry – even the wonky walls and blue horses.  Mia is on track to complete the almost 69 metre long tapestry in ten years, and is now about half way through the project,  sewing about half a metre a month.

Mia has also, somehow, found time to publish her book “Mia’s Bayeux Tapestry Colouring Book”, a boon for many during the lockdowns,  and another book is in the pipeline.

It was a most enjoyable talk for all our members and our several visitors.  Our meeting then continued with our tea and coffee social time, followed by the business side of our meeting informing members of upcoming events, coffee mornings and outings.   After our raffle, our meeting ended at 4pmwith a reminder of our next meeting on the 22nd September when we’ll be having a quiz with a difference!

Genevieve Wicks

July 2021

On Wednesday 28th July, a grand total of 32 Attleborough WI members met in Attleborough Town Hall - a new venue for us:  we used to hold our meetings in the Connaught Hall, but this is no longer available.  The Town Hall is airy, spacious and very comfortable – plenty of room to spread out – and everyone settled down quickly to chat with old friends, and welcome three visitors who were able to join us.

Our meeting started with a lovely rendition of Jerusalem by our members, and then we welcomed this month’s speaker, Don Wescott.  Don chatted to us about his life in television, on stage and in film, mainly as a props man,  dropping some very famous names and regaling us with amusing anecdotes drawn from his long career; he mentioned several classic films which our members enjoyed remembering.  Don ended his very entertaining talk with a jaunty song on his ukulele, reminiscent of George Formby!  Anne Tinker, our Secretary, gave a short speech, thanking Don for coming to talk to us.

Then followed our social time with refreshments and home-made cakes, baked by our Committee, which were much enjoyed by our members.  The President, Genevieve, dealt briefly with the business of the day, which included future dates for our diaries.  Our Treasurer, Ann Kirkness, gave a round-up of Attleborough WI finances to bring us up to date.  The meeting finished with the Raffle, with five lucky winners, and before members left, Genevieve reminded everyone of our next meeting, on 25th August, when Mia Hansson will be showing us her recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry.

Genevieve Wicks

June 2021

Our first “proper” meeting in 18 months.  Some eighteen of us gathered in Bridget’s (a Committee Member) beautiful garden where there was plenty of room to sit comfortably (and socially distanced, of course) and chat with each other.  It was an informal meeting – no singing of Jerusalem (not allowed), a very short discussion on our future events (how lovely to talk about future events that are actually going to happen!).

Members were reminded about the WI Resolution this year:  A call to increase the subtle signs of ovarian cancer.  Handouts from Target Ovarian Cancer were distributed to everyone, and members were asked to have a think about whether they agree that this Resolution should be taken forward as a WI campaign before voting later in the afternoon.

Then followed by the main event:  tea and cakes and catching up with old friends in person, and not virtually for a change.  Members had been asked to bring their own hot drinks and our Committee had kindly baked some amazing cakes which were much enjoyed by all.  After our social time, a vote was taken on the WI Resolution and it was unanimously passed.

Finally, there were three lucky winners of our Raffle and, before going home, members were reminded of our next meeting taking place in the Town Hall on Wednesday 28 July.

Genevieve Wicks

April 2021

On Wednesday the 28th April Attleborough WI had a very interesting Zoom talk and slide show from Gavin Bickerton-Jones. Gavin is a local Wildlife photographer who travels all over the country as well as locally to take his beautiful photographs. He advised us that the best times of day for observing wildlife is either very early morning, evening or night depending on the habits of the bird or animal. He uses camouflaged clothing or hides to assist him and spends long periods of time sitting still observing his subjects. He also uses time lapse and non flashing cameras. He is particularly interested in owls and kingfishers.

He told us that there are 5 species of owls in the UK: little owls, tawny owls, long eared owls, barn owls and short eared owls.

Gavin then showed us photographs of brown hares, swallow tail butterflies, bearded tits, kestrels and peregrine falcons which nest on Norwich Cathedral.

We were also shown photographs of fox cubs, stoats, buzzards, marsh harriers, otters, badgers, herons and kingfishers.

Some of the local places that Gavin goes to are Strumpshaw Fen, Lackford Lakes and Old Buckenham Country Park.

It was lovely to spend some time looking at the excellent wildlife photographs and hopefully it will inspire us to observe the nature which surrounds us.

Gavin has a website and he has recently written a book on barn owls as well as selling prints.

A most enjoyable meeting with some beautiful photographs.

Chris Fallowfield

January 2021

The pandemic has brought many challenges, and some of us have mastered new skills, such as organising meetings during lockdown. I suppose that, an alien, looking at our computers etc. would assume that we always live in a series of little boxes. However, the WI isn’t defeated by the current restrictions, and many of us attended a ‘virtual’ meeting yesterday. The Attleborough group were joined by WI Wanderers; an online group of members from different federations around the country.

Genevieve began by welcoming everybody, and introducing Jenny Gibbs, our speaker, who is no stranger to our WI.

As Jenny was about to tell us of an Englishwoman’s life in rural Turkey, she appeared in traditional Turkish dress, embellished with lots of glitter. In 1993, having never before ventured abroad, she took a trip to Turkey, got on a bus, and headed for the hills! She joined forces with a Turkish gentleman, Mustafa, and they bought a farmhouse in a mountain village. Here, they lived upstairs, with the resident cow sleeping beneath their kitchen at night. Mustafa’s mother gave them a goat, and Jenny learned many skills from the local women. She learned to crochet, and how to gather wild greens for dinner. As Mustafa owned two olive groves, they borrowed a donkey to help with the olive harvest, which takes place during the winter months. The donkeys carry the olives for making oil, and the women carry those for eating. The olive groves are about an hour and a half’s walk from home, so there are lunchtime picnics on the ground, where they share their food.  Jenny described the walks among wild anemones and little waterfalls falling over rocks; a lovely place to spend the winter! In her village the custom is to tread the olives, rather than send them to the factory. Again, the donkey was enlisted to help; turning the stone crusher; then, in jumped the locals, with plastic covers on their feet; what fun.

Although the village now has piped water, many of the locals still go to the spring for drinking water, however, they also have electricity and automatic washing machines.

Jenny told tales of evening visits to various homes, which is a daily ritual; the tea , Turkish coffee and cushions on the floor (no chairs). I can vouch for this, having visited a Turkish home; they are very hospitable people.

Now she has a wonderful life, having taken an amazing leap of faith, and a lot of courage. She and Mustafa, divide their time between here and the Turkish village, where they spend every winter. She had many questions to answer after the talk, and I think I can say that the members thoroughly enjoyed the meeting.

Pat O'Mahony

November 2020

I think I can speak for everybody when I say that the year 2020 is one that most of us will never forget. My last report on the activities of our W I was submitted in February, as this was the last time that we were able to meet. Since then we have done our best to stay in touch with the members, and it seems that all are keeping reasonably well so far.

Our president, Genevieve, has been holding weekly meetings on Zoom, for those members that are happy to attend ‘virtual’ get togethers; and there is usually a weekly chatty quiz for those who fancy using their brains for a few minutes. I understand that the quiz is fairly short, and the chat is very long! The book club have managed a few meetings; socially distanced, of course, and a few of us met for coffee one sunny morning at the Old Buckenham Country Park; a rare outing in lovely surroundings.

During the great lockdown we managed to fill our time in various ways; some with craftwork, baking etc. and others learning new skills, such as making PPE . I had great fun writing illustrated stories about a group of teddy bears. This involved a lot of rather intricate work on the computer, merging photos and adding lots of stickers that I discovered in ‘Paint’. I was told that the stories had a nice little fan club of nine to ninety-year olds, so the effort was very worthwhile; although obviously can’t be compared with providing home-made PPE for the hospitals.

Our committee have discussed the feasibility of members’ meetings, but at present this is impossible; and we have also had to cancel our plans for Christmas lunch. However, we remain positive, and hope for better times next year. Here, in Norfolk, we have been fortunate in that the cases of Covid 19 have been relatively few so far; but we will need to take care of ourselves, and each other, during the coming winter months.

How amazing, to think that Christmas is just a few weeks away, when many of us seem to have missed most of the summer and autumn! Can you imagine the great escape, when the virus is defeated, and we are no longer restricted to small gatherings? Wow; what a party we shall all have!

In the meantime, we wish you all a very happy Christmas and a really wonderful 2021.

Pat O'Mahony

January 2020

Our first meeting this year opened with a minute's silence for two members, Pauline Groom and Dorothy Melton, both sadly no longer with us. We then welcomed our new President, Genevieve, and three visitors; also our speaker, Jenny French, who gave us a very lively and interesting talk on her Charity Cycle Ride in Tanzania. Owing to a technical fault Jenny was unable to project her photos onto the big screen. Many of us did, however, get to see them on her computer, and were most impressed with the results achieved with only the mobile phone she carried on the trip.

Last year, having attended a family funeral, she said she was suddenly made aware of how little some people might do with their lives, and was determined to celebrate her 40th birthday with an adventure; which would also be a good fund raiser. The charity she chose to support was ‘The Railway Children’ – helping destitute youngsters in different parts of the world.

Having travelled a bit, she was quite prepared for a different culture, but totally unfit when it came to the cycling required ; which meant she was always last to reach camp! However, she struggled on, through stunning scenery, searing heat and hoards of Masai children, who were keen to see the action. She had quite a nasty fall, which didn’t help much; apart from giving her a day’s rest. The highlights of the trip were the eruption of a volcano on day five; then, leading the rest of the group home on day six, having had a break! As she said, it is good to set ourselves challenges, and she obviously loves to share her story as much as we enjoyed hearing it.

Our members are still very busy, with the book club, craft group, cinema outings and the odd lunch, but we still found time at our meeting to consider the WI resolutions for 2019/2020. The resolution with most votes was ‘A call to increase potential stem cell donor registration’:  a very worthy cause with the potential to save many lives.

Our next meeting will be on 26th February at The Connaught Hall from 1.30pm, when our speaker will be Lucy Croft on ‘Friends against Scams’. Visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

Pat O'Mahony

November 2019

This will be our last monthly report for this year, as we have no meeting during December; our Christmas lunch being given priority, where we shall be meeting, greeting, and eating!

In November we celebrated Attleborough WI’s 83rd Birthday with tea and cake, and, just for fun, had a ‘spot the baby’ quiz. Now, on looking around the hall, I could find very little resemblance between the vast array of bonny, (and one or two slightly grumpy) babies and the mature and, some might think, rather elderly ladies who had produced the exhibits. There was a lot of guesswork involved; and some hilarity, but we had a winner! Barbara Fisher managed to identify seven babies-which, all things considered was a good result.

Sadly, Kate’s three years as our President has now come to an end, and she has handed her seal of office to our new President, Genevieve, who I am sure, will do very well. During Kate’s term of office she made many welcome changes, in setting up new groups for crafts, the book club etc., which have been a great success. In her closing address Kate thanked the Committee for their support and wished the new President well. We, in turn, wish her well, thank her for all her hard work, and hope she will have a happy time as an active, but unstressed, member of our WI.

Our next meeting will be on 22nd January in The Connaught Hall at 1.30 pm. Where, as always, visitors will be very welcome.

I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of Attleborough WI, of wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2020.

Pat O'Mahony

October 2019

Our October meeting was enlivened by the presence of two beautiful dogs, Inca and Millie. Inca has been voted PAT dog of the year, and has had her few minutes of fame at Crufts; well deserved; as she is a most lovable and gentle animal. Her kennel mate, Millie, is also very lovable, although much more exuberant and playful.

They were accompanied by their owner, Sheena, and our speaker, Carol Adams, who has worked with ‘Pets as Therapy’ for over twenty years. Carol now owns two dogs, Sizzle, a Lurcher and Tia, a ‘Staffy’ neither of whom work, as Carol says they are a bit mad or otherwise not up to the job.

Lesley Scott-Ordish was the founder of PAT, thirty years ago, as she wanted to counteract the negative press reports that dogs were getting at that time. Today about 6000 dogs; and several cats; are giving so much pleasure and comfort to both the very old and the very young, helping children to gain confidence with reading aloud, giving old people the chance to interact with animals, and prisoners a break from their usual routine. Many older people are parted from their pets when taken into care, which can be most distressing; and often people with Alzheimers etc. have a lot of affection for animals. After all, who wouldn’t be moved when looking into the trusting eyes of a dog?

The World Health Organisation has recognised that animals can be very good therapy, so the dogs are taken to hospitals where they help with stroke patients’ rehabilitation, among other things.

Here, in Norfolk, the PAT dogs are very active and involved with hospitals, schools, prisons, Mind, Alheimers and the library service, to name but a few. Carol’s talk and the video she showed us was most interesting; and the dogs were a delight-as I always say ‘visitors are very welcome’; and they certainly were!

Our next meeting will be on 27th November, when we will be choosing a new committee and President and celebrating our 83rd birthday; visitors, as always, will be most welcome.

Pat O'Mahony

September 2019

Our meeting this month was almost entirely devoted to our Art, Craft and Cookery Open Show; which resulted in a very busy day for many of our members. I think the tables looked most attractive and that most sections were very well represented. Twenty seven people entered the competition, four of whom were non-members. There were a hundred and ten items on display, ranging from paintings, photographs, pots, vases and floral art, to cookery and handicrafts; some of which were very cleverly made-we have a few artistic members with very nimble fingers. The cakes and sweets all  looked very tasty. The afternoon was a hive of activity, as our members arrived to view the exhibits and consider the judges’ decisions and comments. The prizes were awarded at the end of our meeting: Rose Price won the prize for ‘Best in Show’ with her beautiful painting of sunflowers, which also featured a few cheeky looking insects. Kate Binks took the prize for the most points gained. It was a good day, and well worth the effort.

On 16th and 17th September two groups of us made our way to Norwich Odeon, via Wetherspoons, to catch up on the latest antics in ‘Downton Abbey’ –a film we all enjoyed. The following day (18th September) several of our number were to be found in St George’s Distillery; sampling some of the goods, and enjoying an excellent lunch. We had a very interesting tour of the distillery, much enlivened by our guide, Joy. I think I can say that a great time was had by all.

Our next meeting will be on 23rd October at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall, when our speaker will be Carol Adam. Her talk is entitled ‘The History of Pets as Therapy & the Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy’. I believe she will be accompanied by two dogs! Visitors, as always, will be most welcome.

Pat O'Mahony

August 2019

The speaker for our August Meeting was the delightful Dr Anne Edwards, a research scientist based in Norwich. She came to tell us of her experiences in Sub Saharan Africa, when, in 2017, she was involved in a project in Tanzania. Arriving in Arusha, after a somewhat bumpy ride, she settled into a very nice hut. The district's economy is based on tourism, so there are many hotels in the town. However, there is much poverty among the friendly people; and some very quaint shops. She showed us some photos of these; the  Manchester United Shop and the Lucky Cement Shop being 2 of my favourites, although what they sold remains a mystery. There were also alot of Masai craft shops and a garden centre. Africa is a very colourful land, so her photos of the Jacaranda Trees, wild flowers and birds were stunning; add to all this the banana trees in the garden, and you can picture the surroundings in which she was living. Her team were working in the Nelson Mandela - African Institute for Science and Technology, where some of the locals had problems in using the highly technical equipment; and where much of the electric wiring looked quite unsafe. The lectures and discussion groups were well attended and there were many lessons to be learned by all, in particular, how to manage food production during prolonged periods of drought.

The team met some of the local Masai people, including the medicine man, who explained the uses of the various plants; and cooked up a special brew, which they all drank; and happily survived! The Masai were in all their finery, wearing very colourful clothing and jewellery; it is worth noting that the animals featured on film needed no such embellishment, but were equally beautiful; especially the thousands of flamingos gathered on the shores of the mineral lakes. What a wonderful world; and how sad  to think that man, in his infinite wisdom, has done so much to spoil it. It was altogether a most interesting talk, and much appreciated by all.

We have made a few changes to our meetings, to give us more time in which to socialize; which seems a good idea. The suggestion that we should make cakes for every meeting also met with approval; this might lead to a bigger (in all respects!) and better WI; we shall see.

Our next meeting will be on 25th September at the Connaught Hall. This will be our Art, Craft and Cookery Open Show, to which all exhibitors are welcome.

Pat O'Mahony

July 2019

This has been a busy week for our WI, as we celebrated Norfolk Day on Saturday 27th July, followed by a birthday party last Wednesday celebrating Norfolk WI 100 years; it was great to see so much cake!

Norfolk Day was quite successful, although we fear the rain kept many of the townsfolk away, in spite of the promise for free refreshments (but no beer!) in the Town Hall. However, we put our best feet forward, and hats on for the occasion, and sallied forth to meet the visitors. We sold some craftwork, jewellery and books and had an interesting quiz entitled "How well do you know your town"; surprisingly very few of the residents recognised the buildings featured in the photographs.

The Birthday Tea was well attended, and we also welcomed Louise, the Federation Secretary, and Carole our WI Advisor. Having disposed of numerous sandwiches, pastries and cake we settled down for a quiz relating to cakes. The WI is notorious when it comes to baking, and we are all quite good at eating the results; however, the cake quiz proved something of a challenge, as many of us were completely baffled! How were we expected to know that "Colour Sprinkles" translated as Lemon Drizzle? However, the Federation Secretary's team walked away with the prizes!

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 28th August, when Dr Anne Edwards will give a talk entited "Test Tubes and Travels in Tanzania. As usual, we will meet in the Connaught Hall at 1.30pm, visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

June/July 2019

Our June meeting was a little late this year, as we met on the 3rd July! Having welcomed our visitors, we began with a minutes silence for our member and friend, Beryl Elliott, whose funeral many of us attended before the meeting.

This month's speaker was George Cooper; a member of Sea Palling Lifeboat crew; who gave a talk on the lifeboat and its history. He told us that the Sea Palling Lifeboat is one of 70 independent stations around the country, and that the cost of keeping a lifeboat afloat is around £30,000 a year. Apart from genuine calls for help, the lifeboat crew are sometimes alerted to the presence of seals, driftwood etc, which are often mistaken for bodies in the water.

George showed us some very nice pictures of early lifeboats, drawn from their stations by horses; and went on to say trouble arrived in the 1970s, when the tourists launched their inflatables, a recipe for disaster. Anyone recovered by the lifeboat crews is entitled to wear the "The Golfish Club" badge; apparently Richard Branson refused to become a member! George thinks the crew on the old days must have been very heroic, as their clothing was inadequate, and the boats ill equipped. I am sure you will agree that anybody volunteering for lifeboat duty is a hero.

Our outing to Langham Glass and Norfolk Lavender was enjoyed by all, in spite of the rain. The event got off to a good start when our coach broke down on the approach to the A47. We were joined on the slip road by the local constabulary, who guarded us until our new coach arrived, and then saw us all safely aboard and on our way. God bless the local police force!. Our meetings are on the last Wednesday of each month at the Connaught Hall from 1.30pm, visitors ar always welcome.

May 2019

Spring has arrived at last, so its a little late to be making resolutions, but obviously the WI doesn't think so! This month we were asked to vote on two resolutions, which were joint favourites chosen earlier in the the year; starting with " A call against the decline in local bus services". The members were quite interested in this, as, all too obviously, transport service cuts will affect them now or in the future when they may no longer have access to a car. it was most interesting to hear what the members had to say on the subject and it was suggested that OAPs could contribute towards their fare, and most were in favour of this.The other resolution "Don't fear the smear" won the vote, as this is a very serious issue, which can have a devastating effect upon women at risk of cancer.

Having got the serious business over, we treated ourselves to coffee or tea and lots of home made cakes, before launching ourselves into a lively Beetle Drive. We are a noisey lot when fighting for a dice, and some of our drawn beetles were quite charming, whilst others were a bit ferocious! It is always good to have fun together, and laughter is a very good tonic.

This month we were very happy to welcome two new members to our group, together with a visitor, who will, hopefully consider joining us.

Our next meeting will be in the Connaught Hall on 3rd July at 1.30pm ( there will be no meeting in June), and our talk will be "Sea Palling Lifeboat and its History", visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

April 2019

April was a busy month for the WI, starting with the craft competition in Bawdeswell, which featured some exquisite work from members of the many WI groups in Norfolk. This was followed by a convival meeting 10th April, where we were joined by members of Wymondham and Wreningham WIs for our annual get together. Our speaker on this occasion was David Morter, who gave an interesting talk about the history of Buckingham Palace. We then had afternoon tea; the lovely home made cakes had been provided by the members from Wymondham, and I think a good time was had by all.

Our Spring Fair in St Mary's Church Hall was well attended, and we should like to thank all those of you who came along to give your support.

Our meeting this month was wacky, weird and wonderful; owing to the antics of our speaker Jean Clarke. Her talk was entitled "Face and Laughter Yoga" and needed plenty of audience participation!  Having explained that laughter could be used as an exercise to find our inner child, she proceeded to demonstrate this theory with a short course involving laughing for no reason, blowing raspberries, pretending to be weightlifters and having a bit of fun with our neighbours. I think we can consider the whole thing a success, as not a single member fell off her seat or lost her teeeth. She also showed us some facial exercises, whose aim was to reduce lines and wrinkles; I can't say my looks have improved as a result, but it was certainly a good laugh!                             I can't promise that next month's meeting will be quite so crazy, although we shall be having a Beetle Drive!

We meet again in The Connaught Hall on Wednesday 22nd May at 1.30pm where, as always, visitors will be most welcome.

March 2019

So far this has been a busy year for our WI and an important milestone for The Norfolk Federation, as we celebrate our centenary, although contrary to popular belief most of us haven't been members for that long.!

Our meeting this month was enlivened by The Lady Molecatcher, Louise Chapman, who amused us with anecdotes regarding mole control! It appears that the very hot summer and lack of rain last year resulted in a decline in the mole population owing to the shortage of worms, their stable diet. It is worth mentioning here that in her opinion, the electronic mole repellents are useless, as the moles are more likely to be drawn to the area by the abundance of worms attracted by the vibrations.

When Louise embarked on her new career she became the talk of the mole community, being the only woman in an all male profession. Having been invited to visit Australia where she appeared in a TV show, she struggled to remove a venomous spider from somebody's shoe. Having eventually managed to dislodge the creature, she was quite upset to discover that the cameraman had missed her big moment. The spider was then taken to the laboratory but was found to be dead on arrival; it seem that the exercise was not altogether a great success. The talk was good until she produced some very evil looking traps, explaining this was a humane way to kill an unsuspecting mole, this did not go down well with everyone. Overall it was an interesting talk, and it seems that our resident Lady Molecatcher has found fame in the ancient profession of mole catching.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 24th April at 1.30pm at the Connaught Hall, visitors, as always, will be most welcome.

February 2019

In lovely and very early spring weather we gathered for our February meeting and were pleased to welcome three visitors.

Our speaker this month was Cliff Amos from the Attleborough Heritage Centre, who gave a talk entitled " Attleborough shops over the last 120 years". He began by talking about the Great Fire of Attleborough, which broke out in the Griffin Hotel in 1559. In an early map of the town it was obvious that the Rectory owned a great deal of land and the town ended at the church. Station Road was built after the railway came through in 1845, bringing many small businesses into the area, and the town expanded.

The first really big shop in Attleborough was the International Stores, which did home deliveries; this caught fire in 1922, but the building was saved and is now the Break Charity Shop. The shops throughout the town changed hands many times, the harness shop became a shoe repairer, the toy and confectionery shop is now selling carpets and so on. The Nationwide building was once The Angel Hotel. Cliff was able to show us many old pictures of the various establishments, including a very nice photo of the troops mustering opposite the church in 1915. The photos of the early mail cart delivering the post to the station were also most interesting. In the early days there were an amazing number of shops, selling everything the townsfolk could possibly need, from food to clothing, hairdressing, animal foods, shoes, furniture; in fact there would have been no need to go to Norwich looking for shops! It was amazing the number of butcher's shops in the town; also the number of shoe repairers. How sad it is to think that all those thriving little businesses were swallowed up by the supermarket giants, who I expect, in their turn, will be swallowed by the internet; thus making it unnecessary for any of us to leave the house for shopping! How times have changed. It was, altogether, a very interesting talk.

Our next meeting will be on 27th March at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall, when our speaker will be Louise Chapman. Her talk is entitled "Tales of the Lady Molecatcher" and will, I am sure be alot of fun. Anybody wishing to join us will be most welcome.

January 2019

Our first meeting for 2019 was very busy, as we had alot of WI business to deal with, including this years resolutions. We were pleased to welcome four visitors, 3 of whom became members during the meeting and our WI advisor Carole Cousins.

Our speaker for January was Kate, our President, who told us of her adventures in Australia, where she was fortunate enough to spend six weeks during September and October 2018. Arriving in Sydney to be greeted by pouring rain, she was soon on her way to Perth, where she found lovely memorials and parks and many skycrapers, and she was surprised to find so many women playing on the local slot machines, known to them as "Pokies". She visited Rottnest Island, home to the Quokkas, and known for its notorious prison where the treatment of the Aborigine people is an unhappy part of Australian history. On a sixteen day coach tour she saw some amazing sights; the stunning "Wave Rock" and "Hippo's Yawn were sublime, and the Emu trying to outrun the coach was ridiculous! From whale watching in Albany to the tree top walk through the Red Tingle Trees, the red rocks of Kalgoolie to the dolphins at Monkey Mia, it was quite a trip.

Unfortunately she did not enjoy the train trip on the Indian Pacific Railway to Sydney (which should have been the highlight of the tour) owing to the cramped conditions, and endless hours staring into the monotonous landscape of Southern Australia. Sydney meant a visit to the zoo, with its Koalas, Tasmanian Devils etc, and a visit to the Opera House, which was stunning. As Kate said it was almost worth spending 10 hours at Bangkok Airport just for that.It was altogether a most interesting talk with some stunning photographs.

Several ladies then gave a brief talk regading the history and purpose of the WI, mainly for the benefit of the newer members. We then got down to the business of choosing this years resolution. The decline of the local bus services scored a resounding victory when put to the vote.

Our meeting next month will be on Wednesday 20th February in the Connaught Hall at 1.30pm, when our speaker will be Cliff Amos, who will give a talk on "Attleborough Shops over the last 120 years". Visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

November 2019

This month's meeting started on a solemn note, as we remembered the Great War, and the day when the guns were silenced, after four long years of battles and grief. Starting with a poem written in remembrance of this town's recruits who never returned, we then listened to a piece written by Jo Carr of The Attleborough Writers Group, telling the story of the war poet, Wilfred Owen, tragically killed by machine gun fire on 4th November 1918. Following the exhortation we listened in silence to John McCormack's very moving rendition of "Roses of Picardy", originally recorded in 1919.

We then launched into our own rendition of "Jerusalem" and our serious business began.

Four of our members gave a short talk about their visit to Denman earlier this year. As usual, everybody enjoyed the experience; the courses ranging from music by Gershwin and Cole Porter, London Markets, which included a visit to the Great Metropolis and  a form of raised embroidery, called Stump Work.

Following this the President and the current Committee were re-elected, with the addition of two new members. All other business was conducted in an orderly fashion followed by cake which was provided by our baking members to celebrate our 82nd birthday.

There will be no formal meeting in December, instead we will be celebrating Christmas with a lunch in Hethersett. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 23rd January 2019 at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall, visitors as always will be most welcome.

In the meantime we wish you all very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

October 2018

Obviously word had spread that our October speaker was Crystal Dyball, demonstrating "Fun with Flowers", as we were delighted to welcome so many visitors to our meeting in the Connaught Hall. A good time was had by all, as Crystal is not only an incredibly skilful flower arranger, but also a very amusing speaker.

Beginning with a beautiful arrangement in a huge champagne glass, she then produced a picnic hamper which she proceeded to fill with flowers, moving on to a very tall terracotta pot for a stunning arrangement in autumn colours. She finished with a floral display using a pumpkin and explained that her container could be recycled. Her hands were always busy, whilst keeping us all amused with her lively banter; a very talented lady.

The flowers were very much appreciated by the winners of our raffle, four lucky ladies staggering away with their prizes.

Next month's meeting will be on 28th November at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall, when we shall begin by remembering those who gave their lives in WW1. We shall also be celebrating the 82nd birthday of our WI.                                                                               Visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

September 2018

This month's meeting was very ably chaired by our Vice President Betty; our President, Kate, having deserted us for awhile in favour of the sunny shores of Western Australia.

Our speaker for the evening was Cindy Brookes, who enlightened us with an interesting talk on 'Becoming a British Citizen'. She began by telling us of her early life in the USA, where she lived in a town whose population numberedabout 37000 and which boasted 6 primary schools. On leaving the local high school, aged 17 she embarked on a 4 year teacher training course at college.  During the 3rd year the pupils were given an opportunity to continue their styudies in Europe and she chose to come to England in the (possibly mistaken) belief that she spoke the lsnguage.! During this first visit she was able to visit many places on the continuent and finished her travels in Norwich, where she became engaged to and later married, a Norfolk man, six days after her graduation.

As yrears went by she came to realise that her only claim to residence here was through her marriage, so she decided to apply for citizenship in her own right. She showed us the two hundred page book she was given, on which applicants need to answer questions. There seemed to be an awful lot of paperwork to plough through, before eventually having to swear an Oath of Allegiance to Queen and country etc. What fun!

We then had a lively time answering some of the questions set for the candidates, generally scoring about 8 out of 10, which fortunately would allow most of us to stay in the land of our birth, but in some cases it was a close run thing.

Next month's meeting will be on 24th October at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall and our speaker will be Crystal Dyball; her talk entitled "Fun with Flowers". Visitors as always welcome.

August 2018

Our August meeting began, as usual, with 'Jerusalem', followed by the WI business. We then got down to the more serious business of tea and cake. This was followed by a somewhat hilarious Beetle Drive, organised by Betty, who did her best to keep us all in order; no mean feat! A Beetle Drive provides a great opportunity for members to meet and greet each other, as we change partners throughout the game. We saw some rather peculiar insects, so maybe our drawing skills need some attention.One of Pat's beetles she considered to be quite good looking but unfortunately someone did comment that he looked like a one legged devil; very hurtful!! The prizes were duly awarded and it was nice to see Kate, our President, receiving the wooden spoon for the worst performance.

As usual, August was a busy month for some of us, with a lot of eating to get through! Our coffee morning at the Courtyard Cafe was well attended, as was the lunch and cinema visit, when we saw the brilliant film "Mamma Mia" which is highly recommended. Then, on 8th August, a jolly little band met again for lunch in New Buckenham; all most satisfactory.

Our September meeting will be on 26th September in the Connaught Hall at 7.30pm, when our speaker will be Cindy Brookes; her subject "Becoming a British Citizen".  As usual visitors will be most welcome.

June 2018

Our speaker at this month's meeting was Tony Perry from Star Throwers, who gave a talk on Edith Cavell and her family. He has obviously done a lot of research into Edith's life and, as a result, has become one of her greatest admirers.

As most of you will know, Edith was born to the Reverend Frederick Cavell and his wife, Louisa, on 4th December 1865 in Swardeston, Norfolk. She was well educated, speaking both French and German. Her early working life was spent as a governess, and during this time she was employed for about five years by a family in Brussels. However she returned home to help care for her father, during a serious illness, and this experience led her to consider nursing as a career. She began her training, aged 30, at the London Hospital and worked both in hospitals, and as a private nurse visiting people in their homes.

In 1907 she returned to Brussels to take up a position as matron of a recently established nursing school there and in a short time she was responsible for training at various hospitals and schools in the area. In 1914 soldiers of all nationalities came to be cared for in Mons and Brussels; and this led to her downfall. She helped British and French soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium into the Netherlands, was betrayed, arrested for 'treason'; and finally executed in Schaerbeek on 12th October 1915; now a Saint's Day in the Church of England calendar. She was buried near the prison at St-Gilles, but her body was brought home and laid to rest on 19th May 1919 and she now lies outside Norwich Cathedral; a great lady.

Tony also briefly mentioned the support given to cancer sufferers, free of charge, by Star Throwers, an invaluable local charity which has provided therapy and treatment in Wymondham since 2009. Altogether a very good talk.

Our meeting next month will be in The Connaught Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th July when we shall be holding an auction. Visitors, as always will be welcome.

May 2018

This month's meeting began with a final vote on this year's resolution; calling on WI members to help, where possible, to reduce the stigma and discuss openly all matters relating to mental health. The vote in favour was almost unanimous, with only four members against, and the motion was carried.

The serious business over, we then tucked into a very good ploughman's supper, followed by a "fish" quiz, which many of us found quite challenging; after all, there are hundreds of fish, and most of them don't appear on the menu in the chip shop!

This month we welcomed 2 new members to our group, and hope that they will have some happy times with us in future.

On 16th May twenty-two members set off for an educational tour of Ely. After coffee we met up with our guide, Pam, for a tour of Cromwell's House, we learned quite alot about the life and times of Oliver Cromwell, including the discovery of his missing head! The house is well worth a visit, with reasonable access throughout. After a very good lunch we had a very interesting guided tour of the Cathedral, including the Stained Glass Museum. A jolly little crowd re-joined the coach for a cheerful and uneventful journey home. I think I can say that a good time was had by all.

Our next meeting is in the Connaught Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th June when our speaker will be Tony Perry, who will give a talk on Norfolk's heroine, Edith Cavell and her family, plus some background on Star Throwers. Any ladies wishing to join us will, as always be most welcome.

April 2018

Our speaker this month was Rod Eldridge, a retired Lt.Colonel, and resident of Attleborough. The talk was entitled "Walking with  the Wounded, Head Start" and concerned the serious issues mental health within the armed forces.

This charity's aim is to assist vulnerable veterans and, where necessary, to help them gain independence through new careers outside the military. Support is offered within the service, although many sufferers find it difficult to apply for help. It seems possible that alcohol is by far the biggest health problem in the forces.

In spite of a lot of exaggeration in the media, the vast majority of recruits do well and enjoy their time in service, and only a significant minority suffer from mental health issues. Apparently the suicide rate is lower within the military than among the civilian population. Many servicemen find to difficult to seek help after traumatic experiences, which can range from having survived when their comrades were killed, exposure to atrocities and abuse etc., but in the main, they are able to find support among their comrades and very few will present with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Those most at risk from PTSD often have a history of family instability, abuse, immaturity or are sometimes of low intelligence. There are support lines within the forces to help deal with stress management and most servicemen and women will recover with or without treatment. The talk was most interesting and informative and Rod was quite happy to answer any questions afterwards.

On 17th April, a few of our members met in Wymondham Garden Centre for a very convivial lunch. A good time was had by all. Our coffee mornings, Craft Group and Book Club are also well attended.

Our next meeting will be on the 23rd May at the Connaught Hall at 7.30pm where we will discuss this years Resolution and enjoy a ploughman's supper. As always visitors are very welcome.

March 2018

There was no review last month as we had to cancel the February meeting due to the Beast from the East! However, during the past week we have been a very busy bunch. Last Saturday we had our Spring Fair in the Church Hall, with gifts, tombola, raffle and cake stalls. The morning went well and we managed to raise funds for our coffers.

Nine of our members attended the Norfolk Federation Meeting on Tuesday in St Andrews Hall, Norwich. It was a good opportunity to meet members from around the county, but unfortunately the acoustics were poor and many of us had difficulty in hearing the speakers. Next year the meeting will be held at the Theatre Royal, so there should be no problems there.

Our monthly meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon and we were very pleased to welcome several visitors, three of whom joined our WI; it is always a pleasure to welcome new members to the group. This month, instead of a speaker, we had poems read by some of our members. We had a good selection of poetry, some quite thought provoking, others hilarious, and I think everyone enjoyed listening; which was just as well in the circumstances, as they had no choice!!

We were then shown an exquisite little needle case which will be made at the Craft Group Meeting on 9th April in the Francis Room.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 25th April at 7.30pm in the Connaught Hall and our speaker will be Rod Elderidge who will talk on Veteran Mental Health. As always visitors will be very welcome.

January 2018

Our December meeting took place in the Breckland Lodge with a very enjoyable Christmas Lunch!!. Now that January has arrived it is business as usual, in the Connaught Hall. Our first meeting, as always, was devoted mainly to the WI resolutions; five serious issues to consider. However we started with a short talk given by three of our members, who told us about their last trip to Denman. As usual they were most impressed with the accommodation and food provided, and it seems that the courses they attended were excellent, if the results of their labour was anything to go by.

Food was mentioned quite often during their talk, which reminded us of the tea and cake to follow, all much appreciated before getting down to the business of this years resolutions. The Attleborough vote was very much in favour of the Mental Health Matters, possibly not surprising, as it is something which could concern any of us, or our friends and families, and often a difficult subject to approach.

We were very pleased to welcome a few visitors and new members this month, and there is always a warm welcome and a cup of tea for any ladies wishing to join us. Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 28th February at 1.30pm in the Connaught Hall, Attleborough, when our speaker will be Jean Clarke, discussing Face, Hands, Shoulders and laughter Yoga.

November 2017

The run up to Christmas is a busy time for most people, not least for the WI. The past week has been quite a challenge for some of us, but as usual, everything went to plan, thanks to many willing hands.

Our AGM last Wednesday,  22nd November, was a mixture of business and pleasure. Kate, our President, and the rest of the committee, were re-elected, but we are very sorry to lose Doreen, who has decided to take a well earned break. She has done a wonderful job in organising our outings and will be much missed. On the plus side, we are pleased to welcome Bridget as our new committee member.

Business over, the committee organised and served our 81st Birthday Tea for the members; I can only say that the Norwich Assembly House teas may be very slightly better, but it was a close run thing! The crowning glory was the beautiful birthday cake, baked by Genevieve, who was helped by Sandra, our sugar craft expert, who did the final touches. Our WI Adviser, Carole Cousins, joined us for the meeting and kindly cut the cake.

On the following Saturday morning the aprons and tablecloths had another airing for our Autumn Fair in the Church Hall. We had a gift/craft stall, cake stall, raffle and a chocolate tombola and it was a great success.

Sunday was the Attleborough Christmas Carnival, where the WI does a great job serving refreshments in the Sports Hall. I would like to say "Well done and thank you" to all of our members who helped with the baking, making and serving at these events.

October 2017

This month's meeting was interesting, owing to the fact that we started at 1.30pm instead of the usual time of 7.30pm. This time change applies only for the winter months, and will, hopefully, make attendance a bit easier for some of the older members.

Our speaker for this month was Geoff Dyett JP on "The Work of a Magistrate". This was very interesting and informative and I think most of the members enjoyed the talk, as there were many questions, which enlivened the proceedings. As a Magistrate with 15 years' service Geoff was able to explain court procedures for those of us who haven't had the privilege of attending court; on either side of the Bench! For instance I think that many of us understood that "bail" was something to do with money, which it appears is not the case. Apparently it is simply a bond, or a promise on the part of the defendant, to attend court when ordered to do so. Failure to appear when summoned can result in prosecution.

It seems that the Norfolk Bench is very fair, in that the Magistrates have equal numbers of men and women, all of whom are of course unpaid. It was altogether a very good talk.

Our craft group, book club, coffee mornings and outings are well attended and I am pleased to say we have had a few visitors to our monthly meetings. Our next meeting will be at the Connaught Hall on Wednesday 22nd November at 1.30pm. This will be our AGM with a social and afternoon tea.

September 2017

This month's meeting was entirely devoted to the Art, Craft and Cookery Show, which was a great success, owing to the very good organisation by most of the committee members on the day. They all worked tirelessly to ensure that things went smoothly, and with a 144 entries to organise, this was no mean feat, - well done everyone.

As this was an open show we welcomed many entrants who are not at present members of our WI, many of them did very well and one won "Best in Show".

One member, Pauline Chamberlain scored the highest points, having entered an impressive number of categories ranging from, plants, cookery and craftwork all of which did well. Most of the entries were beautifully made, some involving hours of work, so congratulations to all who took part and helped to make the day a success.

Our next meeting will be at The Connaught Hall on Wednesday 25th October, starting at 1.30pm. Please note that during the winter months from October to March, our meetings will take place in the afternoons.

August 2017

On 16th August eight of our members met at The Assembly House in Norwich for afternoon tea. A good time was had by all, with more than enough to eat and drink. Unsurprisingly, we were unable to cope with the vast array of sandwiches, scones and cakes available, but we did our best and brought home a few cakes in boxes supplied by the staff.

Some of our members went to the Cromer Pier Show on 27th July, and it seems that they too had a very good time.

Our meeting this month was rather different, in that the committee had no part in the organisation, apart from making the tea, and a short address by the President and Secretary regarding WI business. The evening's events were organised by 5 of our members. The Speaker was Sandie Shirley who gave a talk on her experiences as a journalist. She told us that she started work with very little confidence, as the school's careers advisor had pointed out that there were very few opportunities for women in this field. However, she studied shorthand and typing and got a job working for the assistant editor of the Evening News, and a few years later she was employed by a local newspaper in Harlow. Whilst there she found the people she interviewed quite inspirational, as most of them had battled with problems; with poverty, bad health, both physical and mental, and, in Wolverhampton, one brave lady having to protect a party of children from a man wielding a machete. All were able to overcome their difficulties, develop their skills, and go on to lead very useful lives.

Our next meeting will be on 27th September and will follow The Art, Craft and Cookery Open Show in the Connaught Hall. As always visitors will be most welcome.

July 2017

On 11th July several of our members had a fun day on The Broads, starting with a ride on the Bure Valley Railway, where we had a reserved carriage in which to demolish our packed lunches. Arriving in Wroxham we were just in time to meet the boat taking us around the Broads, where we saw some lovely birds and fantastic houses. We were quite lucky weather-wise as the rain didn't start until we were about to disembark in Wroxham. A great time was had by all.

Our meeting this month was quite special, as we had invited some of our younger family members and friends and neighbours to join us. The young ladies seemed to enjoy their visit and were possibly surprised to find that the WI is more than just Jam and Jerusalem. We had a very good speaker, Anna Meeks, who told us of her exciting trip to Tanzania and Kenya in 2014. She had some quite stunning photos of many different animals, including a close encounter with an Elephant and a charming, and most obliging, Cheetah who happily posed of pictures. Whilst there Anna and her sister visited a local primary school, where they gave them presents of pencils etc. They had been told to take combs, which caused some hilarity, as all the children had closely cropped heads, so combs were the last thing they needed. They found the people very friendly and were well looked after by the local bushmen and warriors. A very interesting talk.

Our next meeting on the 23rd August at 7.30pm will be run be the members and the speaker will be Sandie Shirley a journalist.

June 2017

Our monthly meeting on June 28th began with a talk by John Newmeir entitled " The Unusual Experiences of a Paramedic".

Although the first duty of a paramedic is to save life, they must inevitably see some horrific accidents, his talk was very amusing, telling us mainly of the funny situations involving him and his regular partner for many years - an Irish lady called Bernie. They were called to a road accident, where they found two vehicles; one in the outside lane,  and the other on the hard shoulder. Bernie chose to attend to the car on the hard shoulder, whilst he had to go to the outside lane. To his surprise, and I suspect delight, he discovered that the driver was a well known "page three girl"! He was interested to hear that she had chest pains, and invited her to accompany him to the ambulance, where he would conduct an examination. Needless to say his luck was out, as this is where Bernie decided to take over! On another occasion he had to remove the leathers from a motorcyclist, who protested vehemently when approached with the scissors. On inspection the man was found to be wearing stockings and suspenders underneath. Later, when called to a house fire, they found a dog with breathing difficulties. Having managed somehow to get an oxygen mask over the dog's muzzle, they administered salbutamol and sent the dog off to the vet's. John was later reprimanded for misuse drugs in treating a dog. His response was, that he was trained to save life, nobody had told him that it had to be human.

Whilst on the subject of dogs, I must mention our happy afternoon spent in the Snetterton Dogs Trust on 14th June. The girls made us very welcome, giving us tea, and showing us the facilities, and some very appealing dogs! We managed to leave without kidnapping any of the residents; but it was a close run thing! We are now looking forward to our next outing; to the Bure Valley Railway, followed by a boat trip from Wroxham.

Our next meeting is at the Connaught Hall on 26th July at 7.30pm. As always visitors will be very welcome.

May 2017

Our March meeting began with a minutes silence to remember the victims of the attack in Westminister; now, just 2 months on we had another silence for the young victims of the latest atrocity in Manchester. We join the rest of the country and the civilised world condemning this senseless slaughter of the innocent.

Traditionally our May meeting is all about the latest WI resolutions, and this year was no exception. We were given a brief questionnaire relating to the two resolutions under consideration; Alleviating Loneliness and Micro Plastic Fibres in the Oceans.

Kate Henshaw then spoke on the subject of loneliness and Ruth Roberts reminded us of the pollution caused by "Plastic Soup". Voting took place and the information will be given to our delegate, Betty Stacey, who will be attending the NFWI AGM in Liverpool in June.

The serious business over, and having consumed all the food and drink available, we had a short game entitled "finding a soul mate" which gave us chance to discover a few facts about each other previously unknown!

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 28th June at 7.30pm when John Newmeir will give a talk entitled, "The Unusual Experiences of a Paramedic". Visitors as always are very welcome.

April 2017

Our speaker for the April meeting was Betty Stacey, giving a talk entitled "Fun with a Needle".

Betty is a valued and very talented member of our group and her talk began with a short history of the origins of quilting, starting with the early settlers in America. A lively description followed; of wagon trains crossing the States during the Gold Rush, and the women who made the best of the materials available at the time, thus starting the tradition of the famous American quilts.

Then a hundred years on, the 1975 exhibition in London promoted interest in quilting here.

She then passed around several examples of her exquisite work, which included patchwork, appliqué and embroidery. Her talk was very amusing, informative and interesting and may encourage some of our members to join the craft group, meeting once a month, to learn new skills among friends.

Our new ventures with the book club, coffee mornings, cinema group etc seem to be going well, and our members are encouraged to come forward with any ideas they have for other activities.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday May 24th at 7.30pm. Visitors, as always, will be very welcome.

March 2017

The terrible news from Westminster was on the minds of us all, as we began our meeting with a minutes' silence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

A rousing chorus of Jerusalem got the meeting off to a good start, and it was then business as usual. We extended a warm welcome to our visitors and an even warmer welcome to the home made cakes brought by our ex president Ruth. Coffee, tea, cakes, gossip and decisions as to which outings to attend followed.

Owing to ill health, our speaker for the evening was unable to join us. All however was not lost as our Secretary, Anne, stepped into the breach and produced a "cheese" quiz - whoever heard of Dunlop cheese? ! The meeting started with sadness and silence and ended with party poppers and a good time had by all.

February 2017

Our February meeting began with a very interesting talk by Simon White entitled "The Gardens of East Anglia". The talk was illustrated by his stunning photographs and featured gardens in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex.

We learned that Hoveton Hall is host to over twenty five species of butterflies and The Manor, Hemingford Grey is the oldest continuously inhabited house in England. One of Norfolk's best kept is the beautiful garden at Hindringham Hall, near Thursford. Chippenham Park is famous for its breath taking snowdrops and aconites and Bressingham for its stunning winter garden among many other delightful displays throughout the year. Haughley Park Barn has acres of woodland sheltering a wonderful carpet of bluebells in Spring.

Many of the gardens are well known, loved and visited, but some are little jewels, waiting to be discovered, and Simon thinks that one or even two weeks holiday should cover many of them! Of course, there were many more beautiful gardens mentioned in the talk and some of you will have your own favourites and will be inspired to venture out, perhaps with a camera to record some of the beauty that surrounds us in Anglia.

January 2017

A happy band of WI members gathered at the Breckland Lodge in December for a very nice Christmas Lunch, where a good time was had by all.

The celebrations over, we now start the New Year with a new President and the usual WI resolutions. With six of the latter to choose from we started the meeting with a fairly lively debate, subjects which ranged from loneliness, various women's issues and solving the problem of microbeads in the oceans, followed by a vote.

The majority voted for calls on the Government and industry to research and develop solutions to the problems caused by micro plastic fibres (microbeads), which are polluting the oceans. It is hardly surprising that WI members are concerned for the future of the planet. Perhaps we have moved on from making jam to making a difference!!

Our coffee stall at the fortnightly craft fair held in Attleborough Town Hall on alternate Thursdays still seems popular. We serve drinks and homemade cakes and scones at a very reasonable price and would welcome any visitors.

We would also give a warm welcome to any ladies who would like to join us at the Connaught Hall on the last Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm.