Monthly Reviews

Our Meetings:  Reviews by Members of Attleborough WI

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.