The Craic









Another year just slipped by but we certainly have a lot to look forward to this year as it is now 100 years since our village W.I. was formed by a very formidable lady, Mrs. Ann Scholefield, who lived in Lint Close at the top of the village, now home to The Friary of St. Francis.  Obviously a lot has happed nationally as well as locally, and many changes have occurred during that time, but the ladies of the W.I. are still around and making their presence felt.  We finished 2017 with a wonderful night, starting with a delicious buffet prepared by our ‘in house caterers’ then  being entertained by the great group ‘Misspent Yuke’, all 15 of them, each one an individual talent, sometimes performing together and sometimes singly or in smaller groups; whatever they did was excellent.  By this time our members were on the floor ‘boogieing’ followed by our  W.I.’s Auld Lang Syne – not sure how the ladies of 1918 would have approved but we enjoyed it.

Into January now – our ‘Members Evening’ consisted of five workshops – Hand held posy, Making a Centenary Card, A bouquet from the garden, Making an orange liqueur (W.I. recipe!) and lastly, Pilates.  Before starting in groups, as it is Resolution time, Pam our secretary went through the 5 Resolutions, whittled down from many put forward by members, which we voted on.  Actually they are all detailed in our national magazine ‘W.I. Life’ which is a very interesting read, and of course on the W.I. web site.  We also had a quiz  (our Programme Secretary Celia was really keeping us on our toes) before sorting where our chosen workshops were situated – our member tutors were Ann Hobbis and Margaret Mayfield, Caroline Martin, Judith Williams and Ethel Cook, Judi Hill, and Jean Humphrys.  It was certainly a busy night, but a very enjoyable one indeed – many thanks to all members who organised the night and our tutors of course – where would we be without them.

Janis and Pam did manage to get a bit of ‘business’ in, especially about our forthcoming Centenary Celebrations.  All members must have tickets for our next two March Meetings.  On March 5 our speakers are rather special as we have booked The History Wardrobe’ which will take us through the ages of Alnmouth W.I., of course a very momentous time for women – BECAUSE WE GOT THE VOTE !!!!  The second event will be our 100th birthday celebrations on the 16th March – our entertainers, I’m delighted to say, will be ‘The White Gardenias’.  Both events are for members only so it is imperative that everyone has a ticket because we have quite a number of guests invited from Federation and of course The Hotspur Group so space is at a premium.

January Birthday girl is Carol Knowles and she was presented with a beautiful bouquet and the ‘busy’ meeting ended with a very welcome cup of tea and cheese and biscuits.

Our Speaker for February is Stoker Frater and the title of his subject is ‘Who says there is no money in farming?’ – sounds interesting. Competition is for home-made biscuits.

A Happy New Year to everyone and keep warm.   J.D.


W.I. NOVEMBER REPORT 2017      Apologies for missing Alnmouth’s September and October’s Report but just had a short holiday in Cramlington Hospital,  not by choice, but to be highly recommended as you certainly come out a lot better than when you went in.  Pleased to say now back to the W.I. and certainly picked a good time to return, as our November meeting was excellent – more on that later.

Janis Crook (President) and Pam Muggleton (Secretary) were ‘top table’ and after giving us a very warm welcome Janis, started off by thanking everyone for all the hard work put into  both our Nearly New Sale and Winter Warmer which were enjoyed by helpers at both venues and of course our ‘customers’.  It was good to meet fellow W.I. members from various W.I.s  who joined us for the day for lunch and of course, a good mooch through the Nearly New.  The food was certainly a credit to our W.I. cooks and the choice of ‘Nearly New’ was excellent – a big thank you to all who contributed, as after much sorting by our dedicated ‘N.N.’ team  the choice was very wide indeed.  Actually nothing came amiss, as what was left was very gratefully received by a local representative of Homeless Women, so although completely exhausted,  we all sat down to a wide choice of (leftovers) which we all enjoyed.

Pam then went through our diary of events, including our visit  to the Tyne  Theatre to see ‘Paint your Wagon’  and’ Christmas shopping  in Edinburgh’ also  pointing out the various W.I. activities at Cresswell  House, on the notice board, lastly mentioning our Coffee Morning at Scott’s Deli, in the village starting at 10.00 on Thursday  the  16th November.  Our next meeting will be our Christmas Party in the  usual format – bringing our own place setting, including a glass and whatever you choose to put in it  and of course a wrapped present for  ‘Secret ‘Santa’.   We have  ‘Misspent Yuke’ entertaining us this year, so all we have to do is – eat, drink and just sit back and enjoy – sounds a good way to spend an evening.  Can’t believe Christmas is almost upon us.   Janis asked members to put their name on the list which was being circulated to give our ‘in house’ catering team an idea of how many members will be with us.

Our entertainers for the evening ‘Fools Gold’   had already set up all their instruments and after introducing themselves with great humour, told  us a little of their background,   describing the type of music they played and  sang, which is folk based, and  telling the stories  behind the music  with the visual accompaniment of  very cleverly done pictures on a large projection screen.    Both Carol and Steve Robson  are very talented musicians  and played quite a choice of instruments singing and  telling their stories .  They call folk singing story  telling which  of course it is,  as most were written  describing the living and lives of bygone days.    Given the audience, most of their  music and stories had a local flavour which of course, we all enjoyed,   recognising  some of the views of old Newcastle showing on the screen – and there was no shortage of singers when asked to join in as we all love singing (or trying to) belting out  ‘Keep your feet still Geordie Hinnie’ .  Judging  by the very enthusiastic  extended applause  by our members, it is very safe to assume that Fool’s  Gold  gave us an excellent night.

Janis thanked them  for a wonderful evening and we ended with our usual cup of tea.   The birthday girl  this month was  Margaret Stephenson  and the  competition,  which was for an interesting rock, was won by Jill Bourne.  Her interesting rock was a find in a field in Cornwall  and I believe dates back to quite a long time ago – it was certainly very heavy.

Our December  meeting is of course our Christmas Party.        J.D.

JUNE 2017  W.I.  REPORT –  

Not a bad evening weather wise, not as good as last week, but the Hindmarsh Hall is a good venue for our meetings as it is within yards of one of Alnmouth’s superb views over the estuary and sea, regardless of the weather,  something we never tire of on the way to our monthly meetings.

The meeting started in the usual way, Janis welcoming all members and giving Pam Muggleton’s apologies, her secretary’,  for not being by her side,  as her husband Alan is not too well at all,  at the moment,  her stand in was  ‘the writer’,  so with pens poised the meeting started.   There seemed quite a bit of outstanding business to discuss so Janis started off with plans for our centenary year 2018,  asking members to note the date of our 100th meeting, which is 5th March, 2018 and to celebrate this great occasion,  we are having very special ‘Speakers’ –  ‘ The  History Wardrobe’  who will take us through fashions from 1918 up to date and on  Friday the 16th March, 2018 we will have our usual birthday dinner, but this time we will be entertained by  the White Magnolias, a great local group who are known to many of our members.     Back to 2017 –  various events and invitations were mentioned including our Nearly New Sale in October, and also the Hotspur Group Meeting which  this year will be hosted by Lesbury W.I.,  also in October and the entertainers will be ‘Best of Fettle’, lots to look forward to throughout the coming year.  One thing we will miss this year in August,  is our traditional ‘trip’ but we have decided to postpone it until later in the year just for a change and finally reminding members that our informal coffee morning this month will be at Foxton Hall Golf Club from 10.30 on Thursday the 15th June.

Our Speaker was patiently waiting,  to talk about ‘Poisons in your Garden’ , so Janis introduced us to one of Alnwick Garden’s specialists    Rob Wilson, who of course is very knowledgeable about this particular subject.

We were amazed as his introduction to his talk was,   did we know we were surrounded by  beautiful plants in our garden,   many of which were very poisonous indeed.    We all had a vague idea of some herbs being a bit ‘dodgy’ but the amount of every day flowers, vegetables, bushes and trees with a poisonous element was an eye opener.    He covered a wide field of the various    plants used in medicine and cosmetics  today  and in days gone by,  such as, of course Bella Donna, to enhance the eyes supposedly used in the painting of the Mona Lisa,   Absinth – a favourite of Van Gogh, eventually causing madness,  Hemlock,   taken by Socrates, causing a very slow death, leaving only his brain alive enabling him to lecture his students,   and many many more both for the good of all and  definitely for the opposite.   Rob was an excellent speaker, and kept us very well entertained  with this fascinating subject.  Sue Ellis thanked him on behalf of us all even inviting him back sometime in the future to tell us more!

An excellent pooled supper was waiting for us (hopefully with no ‘additives’) so with much to discuss we gave it full justice.  The winner for this month’s competition  ‘a flower arrangement in a jam jar’ was Margaret Mayfield and the birthday girl was June McQuade

Next month’s speakers are Anya Simpson and Trisha – ‘Silks and Satins’ the competition this month being a silk item.

See you next month   J. D.




 MAY REPORT     –   Our first meeting with the new Committee and in the chair was Janis Crook, who was thankfully re-elected  as our President and by her side,  Pam Muggleton,  in her new role as Secretary, both looking forward to a busy year ahead as we are heading into  100 years of being a part of Alnmouth W.I., started by Mrs. Scolefield, in 1918.  Many changes of course have occurred during that time but we are fortunate that Alnmouth is still a lovely village and our W.I. still thrives. 

Janis started the meeting after her welcome, by thanking all members for their  input into the ‘Food Festival’ ,  which was a great success due to their baking and selling skills and of course enjoying meeting the other stall holders will all their various wares and visitors from far and wide.

It was straight into ‘business’ after that and  as our next year’s Programme was complete, thanks to the sterling work of Celia Collinson our Programme Secretary,  Janis mentioned particularly two up and coming events the first, ‘Tea in the Garden’ (Blue Dolphins)  supporting the Art Festival Weekend on 17th and 18th June and just to keep us on our toes a ‘Nearly New’ Sale in October where she reminded us to face something we always mean to do – go through our wardrobes and sort out those clothes  which are either too big,  or too small, but we keep just in case.

Pam reminded us of up and coming events including our guided tour of the Grainger Market in Newcastle, which was actually,  on the 10th May, and  certainly  to be recommended  as it was so interesting,   also going through the recommended Resolutions to be voted on at the N.F.W.I.’s Annual Meeting in Liverpool, followed by a report by Hazel Shell, our Representative ., to the N.F.W.I. Council Meeting held at the Royal Grammar School in Newcastle,   which she enjoyed very much and which we enjoyed listening to, – even including a joke told by one of the Speakers.     Our birthday girl’s name was then  drawn from the hat and it was Pat Edwards, who was presented with a lovely bouquet.

Margaret Woodliff Wright, our speaker for the evening and having previously set out examples of the hats she designs and makes,  started her presentation by going through the procedures of how she achieved making such  beautiful hats for every occasion.      She studied couture millinery at Leeds College of Art before starting her career,  and it was fascinating hearing how she creates such beautiful designs, even from old jumpers, her favourite sources of material being  the Oxfam Shops –  truly amazing.   At present some of her designs are on display at  Fenwicks of York, in their ‘An English Country Garden’ exhibition plus one of her designs is jetting off to Nebraska to an exhibition there.  A very interesting  talk, one we enjoyed very much.   Our competition this month was of course ‘a hat’ and we had quite a selection modelled by their owners, quite hard to choose, but Jean Humphreys  was the winner  in a very fetching hat.   Janis thanked Margaret for her excellent presentation and of course we finished our evening in the usual way by scones, cake and a cup of tea.

Our June meeting Speaker is Rob Wilson, and his   subject  is ‘Poisons in your Garden’  which sounds intriguing  and it will be a pooled supper.      J.D.



APRIL W.I.ANNUAL MEETING.  Given that this is not the most  popular meeting  of the year, there was a good turnout of members, possibly a ‘just in case’ factor as they just might have found being voted in as this year’s President in their absence,   was not quite what they had in mind.

After Janis, still in the chair for this meeting, welcomed everyone including our W.I. Adviser Ann Dixon and her companion Brenda Houlison, . the Agenda  was quickly gone through before the Annual Meeting started. Janis keeping everything as short as possible.  ~The main item mentioned being a reminder to our wonderful bakers of the need to show their skills for the up and coming first Food Festival which is due to be held  this coming Sunday and also names to man our stall.  It is traditional for the committee to serve supper at the Annual Meeting so no tea girls needed tonight.  The birthday girl was Pam Mugggleton who was presented with a lovely bouquet and Ann Coyne was the winner of the year’s competitions  .

 Our monthly meeting was now closed and our Treasurer, Clair Smith started the Annual Meeting by the presentation and adoption of the Financial Statement ,  followed by the presentation of the Committee’s Annual Report, which in the absence of our Secretary Yvonne Farmer, was presented by Pam Muggleton her assistant covering  the many  diverse range of excellent speakers  we had   throughout the year organised by our Programme Secretary Celia Collinson, particularly mentioning Members Night  with members sharing their knowledge and taking workshops covering a multitude of talents.  It was also our 99th birthday Party this year,  held in the Hindmarsh Hall, which was very enjoyable. indeed. (its our big one next year 100 years the W.I. have been in Alnmouth – wow)    Our present President then addressed the floor thanking everyone for all their efforts and input into our W.I. which wouldn’t run without them. Particularly thanking , Sue Ellis, Barbara Galbraith and Yvonne Farmer , who are standing down this year, for their sterling work which was much appreciated.

.Janis then handed the meeting over to  Ann Dixon, , our W.I.A. who gave a brief talk of N.F.W.I. activities plus a very funny poem,  before starting the vote for the new committee and President.  As the present committee are staying on apart from Sue, Barbara and Yvonne,  ~Ethel Cook and Di Sparks  are joining the committee in their place and we are delighted to welcome them and after a vote for President was carried out ,  we are delighted to welcome back Janis Crook our previous President who we are sure will lead us into our 99th year with her usual enthusiasm and humour. To conclude the  Annual Meeting, Esme Forster, thanked   the outgoing committee for all their input in 2016,  on behalf of the members and also Ann Dixon for her help in the election.

We were now more than ready for our pie and peas with the very necessary cup of tea Sue Stancliff and Ann Coyne were by now at the ready so we all relaxed and enjoyed a good catchup.

Our Speaker for the May meeting should be interesting  as it is Margaret Woodlif Wight her subject being ‘HATS’  and our competition surprisingly, is a hat.

Just an extra paragraph, although I started my report just after the Annual Mtg. because I didn’t actually  get it finished  due to running out of time, it worked in our favour as The Food Festival in Alnmouth is now over and I can report it was excellent in every way.  The sun shone, lots of happy people, all sorts of interesting and good food, shared the Hindmarsh   Hall with fellow stall holders from all parts of Northumberland, (we were next to the  Alnwick Rum Co. – what a spot!)  and sold all our cakes and produce so it was quite a day.      Thanks to everyone involved..      J.D.



Our 99th Birthday

We celebrated with a delicious dinner thanks to Susan and Donald of “Beaches” in Alnmouth and their helpers Lesley and Sam.  Now looking forward to next year, our CENTENARY!!

(Thanks to Esme for the photos)


W.I. MARCH MEETING.   Janis and Yvonne, our President and Secretary respectively, commenced our meeting in the usual way with a warm welcome and especially thanking everyone for helping to make our Winter Warmer such a success.   The various soups on offer plus delicious fruit crumbles, all ‘member made’ went down extremely well and it was good to see so many of our fellow W.I.members from various points in Northumberland joining us for lunch.

Various up and coming events were covered, including a quiz at Shilbottle, an outing, arranged by Pam Muggleton to visit Grainger Market in Newcastle on the 10th May plus our ‘informal’ coffee morning at The Alnmouth Gallery   from 10.30, the 23rd March. Also mentioning the  need once more,  for our wonderful bakers to fill the stall which we have taken, at the first ever ALNMOUTH FOOD FESTIVAL on Sunday the 9th April.

As our next meeting is our Annual Meeting – (usually not the most popular one of the year!) Janis went through the proceedings of volunteers for both officers and committee members which will be supervised by a W.I. Adviser so everyone sat very quiet, which in our W.I. is very unusual – just in case! It appears we are having a ‘pie and pea’ supper so that is something to look forward to, as by supper time our next year’s President and committee will be in situ, so we can relax.

Our Speakers for the evening were, Alan and Pauline Giles and Peter Cryer, who had been waiting patiently whilst Janis and Yvonne went through all ‘Matters Arising’ and after an introduction from Janis, Peter began his presentation of Press Gangs in the North East.

We learned what a cruel way of life it could be in our part of the world, as being on the coast and as the local industry was fishing it was the ideal area to forcibly take both old and young men who of course were experienced seamen, to fight for their king and country without even a goodbye to their families. Their wives of course were left to look after their children in anyway they could, which probably meant the workhouse,  with no hope in all probability, of ever seeing their husbands or sons agai, n as life aboard a Royal Navy Ship must have been horrendous as discipline was extremely harsh plus injuries and disease. Unbelievable as it is, Press Gangs were legal, as it was the only way they could get their seamen.   Actually, quite a bit of their tales were set to music as this is the way the story of their lives   was passed on as of course most people were illiterate in the 18th century.    It certainly didn’t lessen the impact of how awful life was in the day of press gangs but we did enjoy their music, played on, guitar, flute and northumbrian pipes.     We thanked Alan, Pauline and Peter for their excellent presentation and of course for also coming up from Newcastle

We thoroughly enjoyed our cup of tea and delicious cakes but did feel a bit guilty thinking how different our lives are now.

The Birthday Girl was Rosi Ross   and as mentioned our next meeting will be our Annual Meeting.     Look forward to seeing you. J.D.




FEBRUARY REPORT  2017  We certainly had a good attendance at our February meeting some new faces mingling with the old, which of course meant quite a lot of chat going on, catching up with each other –  but Janis put a stop to this by starting our Meeting  with the help of Yvonne quickly going through various up  and coming events

Our Winter Warmer was first on the agenda, reminding members to put their names down under various ‘headings’ to enable us to look after our, for the most part, fellow W.I. members who are joining us on Wednesday the 22nd February,  and also our 99th Birthday  celebration which will be in the Hindmarsh Hall on Thursday the 16th March.  Also a new venture for us, we are taking part in the Alnmouth Food Festival which will be on Sunday the 9th April,  Janis asking us to put our making and baking skills to the test as we will be having a ‘W.I. Produce and Cake Table’ – to join in Alnmouth’s first Food Festival.

Before announcing our Speaker for the evening, Yvonne went through  other events that our local W.I.’s are having such as a Hotspur Group Quiz Night, at Shilbottle on the 23rd March and various activities at Cresswell House which sound interesting after which Janis introduced Clair Dowgill, whose talk was entitled ‘Follow your Dreams’.

We were all intrigued wondering which path her subject would take and it was we discovered,  Going around the world, aged 55′,  camping in a very basic $20.00 tent across the, USA, camper vanning round New Zealand, driving 10,000 kilometres around Australia, topped off with using public transport doing ‘proper’ back packing through S.E. Asia, with her husband – both of whom are eclipse followers.   They had many adventures,  experiencing amazing scenery, awe inspiring sunsets, sunrises, endless encounters with fantastic wildlife and so many friendly and welcoming people.   The highlights were Angkor Wat, an erupting volcano, the Barrier Reef, the mud pinnacles in New Zealand and of course the eclipse . each incident adding to the overall thrill  of being free and able to explore with very little restriction.    There was no ‘epiphany’ moment Clair said, but as they relaxed into their now chosen lifestyle, their attitudes to lots of things  changed.

After 9 months on the road they realised they were no longer teenagers and were a tad weary and just a little homesick,  so  they returned to England, unemployed, homeless but with a confidence about  living their lives differently.  It took a little while for them  to realise the subtle change – but the process took them down the route of more living the dream and less a salary/career orientated lifestyle.   Janis thanked Clair very much  for her intriguing talk and it actually inspired our Programme Secretary, Celia Collinson, to ask members to put down the dream they would like to follow and actually one or two did, which we will put on our web site under The Craic –  we don’t actually know the authors of Living their  dream’, but  they are very interesting.  A final tip from Clair, anyone contemplating to follow their dream in a little tent – ‘take more than 3 pairs of knickers and be prepared to use wet wipes like you never believed possible.

The evening  ended in our usual way with a cup of tea, plus  some little cakes and scones and the birthday girl this week to get the bouquet of flowers is Ann Gledall.

Next month’s  speakers are Alan and Pauline Giles and Peter Cryer their subject being ‘Press Gangs in the North.  J.D.


‘Follow my dream’

(which one of the following was Barbara’s?)

Just one or two of   various  members  ‘musing’:-

  1. ‘Travel in luxury around the world.’
  1. ‘I always dreamt of one day sky diving and living abroad.  I have achieved both dreams – I did 20+ jumps in Germany.’
  1. ‘Mine was simple, it was to move from the City to the countryside near the sea… and I’ve done it and made lots of wonderful friends too.’
  1. ‘Singing in tune’
  1. Finally play golf better and enjoy it and maybe take off again as a crew member on the high seas, should the opportunity come up.

Nice to know so many of us still  have dreams.


  ‘ what a place to finish our holiday ‘The Orchid Garden’ in Singapore – back to Alnmouth tomorrow’

Members quenching their thirst on arrival at Singapore.

Just arrived and out on the town.Early night,really shattered.x


January 2017 Meeting.

Well our first meeting of 2017 was bursting at the seams with both members and prospective members and after a hearty welcome from our President, Janis, she quickly gave us a briefing of  how the evening will run as to start the year off our meeting was going to be a ‘Members Night’.



The evening’s business was quickly gone through, particularly mentioning that our subs are due – this year, £39.00  –  and that there will be a vote on the  Resolutions shortlisted on the available handout later,  during supper.  As,  of course,  it is getting near our Annual Meeting  members  were encouraged to think about joining the committee and any members interested in keeping the  website looking fresh and up to date would be very welcome indeed.

As it is our centenary next year, 2018, plans are underway for various celebrations being organised by an appointed  sub committee  –  more details will follow when they are finalized.   March 2018 seems forever away, but no doubt it will soon be upon us, like most celebrations you think you have plenty of time and suddenly its happening.  Our last reminder is about our usual Winter Warmer  which this year will be on Wednesday the 22nd February  when we will be serving homemade soup served with crusty bread, fruit crumble and custard followed by coffee or tea all for £5.00    We will be having two sittings this year one at 12.00 and the other 1.00 and if anyone would like to make a booking please email and we will happy to keep you a place.


Our Workshop  Leaders were eagerly awaiting their ‘pupils’ so Celia our Programme Secretary together with Caroline Martin and Ann Coyne helped members find their chosen subject.  There were two sessions available to members, chosen in advance and all were well subscribed,   so the fun began.  Actually there were excellent crafts of all sorts on offer including a tasting of cocktails (not sure of that category, but well attended!) all of the tutors being members.  They were:   Wool Wrapping,  Peg Loom Weaving,  Crochet flowers,  Winter Planting,  Making a place mat, and Cocktails – our inhouse ‘tutors’ were amazing and the buzz of conversation and laughter proved that our Members Night got our New Year off to a good start.

We finished our excellent evening by our usual  member’s pooled supper, which everyone was really ready for  and of course the vote of our chosen resolution.

The Speaker for our February meeting is Clair Dowgill and her subject will be ‘Follow Your Dream’  and the competition is a ‘Dreamcatcher’   J.D.


   Janis, our President, gave us her usual warm welcome and as Yvonne, our secretary, was unable to be with us, Pam Muggleton, her assistant, was her side kick.   The usual list of up and coming events were announced, in particular November Meeting 2016 Report   Janis, our President, gave us her usual warm welcome and, as our secretary Yvonne our Christmas Party, Janis reminding members, that whilst supper will be supplied, everyone is to bring their own place setting, including a glass as it us a b.y.o., plus a gift to add to Santa’s pile. Clair, our Treasurer, gave us an update of finances and Janis read out Thank you Cards from fellow members of the Hotspur Group. We have also received an invitation from Berwick W.I. to join them for their carol service on the 14th December, which quite a few accepted, so Christmas appears to be well on the way.   The last notice was of a coffee get together at The Gallery in the village on the 17th November, from 10.30 which is a catch up of members between meetings, and of course, a reminder of our Edinburgh visit on the 29th November, leaving Alnmouth station at 11.08.

Before announcing our Speaker for the evening, who was already with us, one of our members slipped in a request for us to dig into our drawers and cupboards, to find items to give homeless women, in particular any products relating to personal hygiene, toiletries, underwear, socks in fact anything unused that is just sitting there which would be more than welcome, as particularly over the Christmas period there can be a lot of hardship to women due to various circumstances, made homeless Although our next meeting will be our Christmas Party, any items brought that evening will get to where they are needed we are assured.

Sandra Kerry, who patiently sat through our meeting, was introduced by Janis and the lighter part of the evening began. The title of her presentation was ‘Women’s lives and experiences’ but we didn’t realize that for the most part of it was her songs that expressed her descriptive title.   She started well with a Northumbrian song, asking us to join her in the chorus, which we did of course, whether we could sing or not, and then introduced herself.   She is certainly a lady that has done a lot over the years, including being a writer of ‘Bagpuss’ a familiar name, and harking back a few years, being a great favourite of quite a few of our children’s t.v. viewing and of course being involved for 20 years in the very well know local choir ‘Weca’s Folk.   Although she had a bad bout of bronchitis that didn’t stop her singing or giving the background of the lyrics, as well as accompanying herself on various instruments – a guitar, Apalacian auto harp and concertina, in fact she included in her repertoire a song she has written about the W.I., which of course we particularly enjoyed.   She was excellent and certainly entertained us very well on a miserable November evening.   Janis thanked her on our behalf for both her music and words, some of which were hilarious!

The birthday girl was Margaret Stephenson and the competition for a poem relating to women, was won by Isabel Chalmers.

As our next W.I. meeting is our Christmas party and the last meeting in 2016 we at Alnmouth W.I. wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and Happy New Year. J.D.





~The usual buzz of members greeting each other, sorting a place to sit and of course the buying of raffle tickets from Sue Stancliffe in the hope of winning whatever she produces on the evening, got the evening off to a good start. As Yvonne, was not in the secretary’s chair as she is off to sunny Greece, Pam Muggleton took her place, and Janis welcomed all members and visitors before going through the Agenda.

The Hotspur Group Meeting was high on the Agenda which we are hosting this year on the 26th October covering the arrangements etc. followed by various announcements of outings etc. the first is our ‘informal coffee morning’ in the village, this month to be in the Village Tea Room (next to the Gift Shop) at 10.30 on the 20th October our trip to Edinburgh by train on Tuesday the 29th November and looking ahead a little a Winter Warmer in February and the much awaited fashion show by Seasons of Alnwick in March. Janis left all the’ Northumberland News’ for us all to go through at our leisure as time was passing quickly and as there looks to be some interesting ‘happenings’ it will take more digesting than a quick mention.

Having previously had John Yearnshire talking about forensic science at one of our meetings we this time had the pleasure of hearing his wife Stephanie, formerly   Commander of Police and Detective Superintendent, talking to us about Mary Ann Cotton, who was convicted for the murder of her son and hanged in Durham Gaol in 1873 for killing three of her four husbands, apparently in order to collect insurance policies.   Her method of poisoning was arsenic and in actual fact she may have had as many as 21 victims, including 11 of her 13 children.

Stephanie enthralled us with her storey, unbelievable as it was that any mother would murder her children for it seems a very small insurance policy, not to mention her husbands.     We were asked at the end of her talk to make up our minds as to Mary Ann Cotton’s guilt or innocence and with no hesitation it was a unanimous vote of GUILTY.  Barbara Galbraith gave an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf for a very enjoyable talk indeed.

The birthday girl chosen out of the hat this month was Margaret Mayfield who was presented with a lovely of bouquet of flowers, and the evening ended with our usual cup of tea and chat.

Also been asked to mention the return of Eleftherious Kousmasidis of Aegina (wow) on Saturday the 15th October at 7.00 at Saint John the Baptist Church, Alnmouth who will be entertaining us with a piano recital featuring the music of Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Marcello, and Debussy with guest artists, Josie McDonough and Alison Rudd.   Entry is by donation.

Our November speaker will be Sandra Kerr, and her music will be based on ‘Women’s Lives and Experiences.   Sounds interesting.   J.D.                                                     



A good start to our autumn/winter season – we had a full house of members as well as visitors. Sue Ellis, who was in the chair (Janis is at the moment exploring Rome) together with her side kick, our Secretary, Yvonne, started the meeting.   Various notices of up and coming events were read out, in particular information regarding the Hotspur Group Meeting, on the 26th October, which this year our W.I.,   is hosting. The theme is to be Spanish and Outcook, from Alnwick, are demonstrating and making canapes etc. so together with a suitable Spanish atmosphere and the occasional burst of flamenco music it sounds very promising! Tickets are available from member’s own W.I. and we look forward to the evening very much.

Yvonne read out quite a lot of what is going on within the Federation and all are listed on the ‘Newsletter’ for further details.     Two items mentioned which were important and applicable to our W.I. because of needing to order and book,   the former, W.I,. diaries and calendars,   the latter our trip to Edinburgh by train on the 29th November which were luckily sorted out before the ‘cut off’ date – there appears to be a lot to ‘catch up’, after our ‘summer break’.   Another item which is imminent, our informal coffee morning, which this month, is Thursday the 15th Sept and will be at the Village Grocery Store, in the coffee shop at the rear, from 10.30 a.m. The lucky birthday girls drawn by Yvonne are,   Lorna Ternent for August and Hilary Buckley, September.

During our meeting , two fine looking gentlemen were waiting patiently and perhaps looking a little confused in the midst of our members   but after being introduced by Sue all was revealed as they were at our meeting to tell us all about the ‘Northumbria Blood Bikes’ a subject quite a few of us were not really aware of .     All was revealed however, as it appears they are ’ gentlemen of the night’ known as the ‘Northumbria Blood Bank Bikers, their hours of duty being from 7.00 p.m. going on to 7.00 a.m. and their task, which is purely voluntary involves delivering blood and urgent clinical supplies out of hours between Health Care sites, laboratories and clinics in the North East, covering Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Co. Durham, by for the most part, motor bikes.   The Blood Bike Groups across the country, seek to carry out this service free of charge, ensuring the limited resources of the N.H.S. can be used elsewhere . They are a charitable organisation relying entirely on donations and fund raising, truly amazing isn’t it and to be honest a good portion of our members, had just a very vague idea of their existence.   Their presentation was excellent as is their commitment to this cause and it is the importance of what they do that is mind blowing as with blood being on hand so quickly   gives the medical team a fighting chance to help those   in need of i blood.     They do have a web site under the name of ‘Northumberland Blood Bikes, which gives you a real picture of what they do and is well worth looking up.   Just an add on, they brought one of their bikes to our meeting which was a great success showing us their mode of very fast transport which some of our members tried out (in a stationery position of course) but they can dream.

Sue Ellis gave an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf and after much discussion and digesting of what we had heard from the Blood Bank representatives and our usual mug of tea accompanied by homemade cream scones made by some of the committee, the meeting ended.

The Speaker for our 3rd October meeting is Stephanie Yearnshire and her subject will be ‘Historic Murder Cases, which sounds rather interesting.     J.D.


July Meeting.

Lot of buzz this evening so with a full house, Sue Ellis our Vice President (Janis unable to join us this evening) and Yvonne, in her usual place by her side, started the meeting welcoming all members, especially some visiting W.I.s from Lesbury, Warkworth, Felton and Amble.   As Sue had no wish to keep our Speaker waiting for long, outstanding   business was quickly gone through, and as most of the information of up and coming events at Cresswell house, were itemised in the W.I. Newsletter she suggested we catch up during supper, as copies were on each table to go through and consider which are the most appealing, among the many to choose from.

Yvonne did mention however that this year we wont be doing our usual cake stall for Hindmarsh Hall at the Friary Day, which will be on Sunday the 17th July and instead will be running a tombola stall asking of course for interesting items to fill the stall. I think our members have the ‘white thumb’ from all the baking we have done celebrating the Queen’s Birthday event, which was a great success, hence the change of track.

Sue then introduced, Sean Murray, our patiently waiting Speaker for the evening, and as most of us had seen him on T.V. receiving his Gold Award for the winner of the Great Chelsea Garden Challenge , we were really looking forward to meeting him in person and hearing his story of how it all happened and he didn’t let us down, as he was spellbinding in a very laid back casual way.

Sean was the son of an Ashington Miner and from a very young age loved growing things, including designing and redesigning his father’s garden where they lived in a council house at Newbiggin, much to his father’s neighbours interest. He took up nursing, very successfully as his first career, which lasted 35 years and because of his love and talent of gardening his daughter, backed by his wife, suggested entering The Chelsea Gardening Challenge after seeing a programme on T.V. whilst on holiday at Centre Parks ., which he did.    He was one of 5 applicants accepted after many interviews with the R.H.S.judges, and POW it became the start of his second career at 53 after being accepted. He did have some critics being the only applicant without any qualifications, other than his natural gift of growing and design, but by elimination  almost becoming a nervous wreck, he eventually won.   The brief asked for by the R.H.S. ‘ was a ‘front garden with room for a car’  incorporating empty rusty baked bean tins into a sculpture, coal of course, and after raiding skips and the tip using his imagination all intertwined with a beautiful assortment of flowers, he successfully came up with an amazing garden in fitting with the challenge.

He gave his talk without any notes whatsoever, and with great humour and knowledge, a delightful Geordie lad who has done exceedingly well through his own endeavours. Pam Muggleton thanked him on everyone’s behalf and wished him well with his new career, in,    ‘Garden Design’ based in Ashington.

As it was a pooled supper produced, of course by our own members, we all tucked into delicious savouries and sweets (didn’t care about the calories) with much to talk about following our excellent evening.  

Our birthday girl this month was Caroline Martin and as there is no meeting in August, see you all in September.   Have a good summer   J.D.



It was good to see such a good turn out of both members, visitors and fellow members from local W.I.s on this lovely June evening, and after a very warm welcome from Janis, our President, accompanied by Pam Muggleton, assistant secretary, Yvonne was off to her home country of Wales for a few days, the meeting started. 

As our Speaker was already in situ, surrounded by his wonderfully smelling products, Janis quickly went through the Agenda and as all relevant correspondence and last month’s Minutes were displayed on the table for members to read she covered other outstanding issues. The most current being a reminder to our wonderful bakers of ‘Party in the Park’ on this coming Sunday, the 12th June, which the Parish Council have organised asking us to share in the celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday, doing our usual of course ‘ scones, cakes and tea served in the marquee.   Plus mentioning a ‘casual coffee’ visit to The Sun’ on Thursday morning 23rd July, a good place to recuperate after voting and our trip on the Spirit Bus to Rothbury on the 7th July.

There was one very important part of our meeting when Celia Collinson, our archivist introduced Susan Frater to the floor, who wished to present  our W.I. with a silver spoon, she found in her house (when she was having a good sort out!) The spoon was actually presented to her Grandmother, Harriet Margaret Frater, of Bilton Barnes, in 1928, a founder member, of Alnmouth W.I. . as were all the members 154 of them, from Mrs. Scholefield of Lintclose, now of course the Friary, who was actually the founder of our W.I., in celebration of the first 10 years of the W.I. in the village   It was indeed an honour to receive this wonderful momento from Susan and it brings home what an important organisation the Women’s Institute is, all thanks to Mrs. Scholefield and the input of Susan’s Grandmother and the rest of the first members..   We will treasure it Susan as we do the memories of the first stalwarts of our W.I.

Chris Harrison of Waulkmill Cider, was  more than ready to tell us about his enterprise and we of course, were eager to hear.   He is actually based just over the Border between Langholm and Esdalemuir a beautiful part of the country and prides himself as being the first brewer of cider in Scotland, a part of the world more known for another product!

He has obviously put a lot of research and work into this enterprise and it appears to be working out for him as he had an amazing selection of ciders, using Scottish apples blended with traditional cider apples to acquire the various flavours he produces.   The apples and pears he uses are, when possible, from local sources, back gardens, small orchards, even single trees, never turn downs any offers of apples and pears all of which are hand pressed on his site, all waste going to local pig farmers, so he is certainly very enterprising.   On all our tables were a couple of small bottles of cider, we were invited to open and taste, which we did of course, with great enthusiasm sharing other tables’ bottles as they were all different and of course the sales table seemed very popular indeed.    He also mentioned his Cider vinegar is supposed to be an appetite depressant,  which was greeted with great interest but his other flavours were equally interesting i.e. toffee apple, sticky ginger, blackcurrant – Oh and by the way Babycham (a drink we cut our teeth on!!) is becoming popular again.  After answering many questions from the members, Sue Ellis, on our behalf, gave him all our thanks, especially travelling so far, for giving such an excellent presentation.

The usual chat and cup of tea ended our evening but not before drawing the birthday flowers, which this month went to Monica Atkins.

Our topic for July is Garden Design and Question Time by Sean Murray and it is a pooled supper.   J.D. 



This was our first meeting with our new committee in place, not many changes actually, but as Yvonne our Secretary was unable to attend, Pam Muggleton, in her new role as assistant secretary, helped President, Janis, to go through the usual formalities, of which there seemed to be quite a lot.
A copy of last month’s Minutes was on each table to keep us up to date with various points in ‘Matters Arising’ such as an update of the fashion show which was held at ‘Seasons’ and was a very enjoyable evening, the ongoing fund raising for our W.I. fund, payment to Pam for the theatre trip and a reminder of the first sub- committee meeting on Monday 16th May, to discuss our centenary celebrations. Caroline went through various Federation events followed by a reminder of our annual outing to Beamish Museum in August. Last, but far from least, we have been asked by the village Parish Council to do the refreshments at the ‘Party in the Park’ for the Queen’s 90th Birthday on Sunday the 12th June. Volunteer bakers and helpers needed of course!
Apart from these items, a request was put to the floor for a member who would be interested in being our ‘resident photographer’ so that we may have a record of ‘our goings on’ especially with regard to keeping our new web site updated, also anyone wishing to join fellow members for a coffee at The Old School Gallery next Thursday the 19th May, would be very welcome – and lastly we thought we may try out the Spirit bus for an informal outing to our beautiful Coquet Valley now that summer is on its way, probably in June.
There was another issue discussed and that is the problem of the X18 no longer running a service from Alnmouth village during the day, which we brought up with our M.P. Anne- Marie Trevelyan and having had a reply from her we hope that she can help us in reinstating this valuable service to the village as it was well used, especially during the summer months by visitors to the village travelling by train and leaving their car behind, a great advantage to the village given our parking problem.
We had noticed a lady walking through the door with some big boxes which looked a bit like a bee hive and that is exactly what it was, as our speaker for the evening was Sandra Carrott, a member of Alnwick Beekeepers Society and her subject was ‘Fantastic Facts about Bees and Beekeeping’. Sandra gave us a wonderful talk on this subject and it is pretty obvious she is very passionate about her bees. She took us through the history of her subject and given bees have been around for a long long time, honey having been found in a pharoah’s tomb thousands of years ago, the bees still produce honey in the same way as they have ever done. The Queen Bee of course is still the centre of their universe and is highly protected by the drones but each layer of the bees in their hives has a job to do from collecting pollen, cleaning the hive, feeding the baby bees and of course producing this wonderful product called honey which apart from being delicious on our toast in the morning has multiple uses and has done for centuries as a great healer among many others.
I can’t really do justice to Sandra’s talk as it was so good; her knowledge of ‘her bees’ is phenomenal and it was certainly an eye opener for most of us listening to her. Sue Ellis thanked her on our behalf for certainly an excellent talk both humorous (I think the bees are all her friends!) and certainly fascinating.
We finished our evening by the presentation of the birthday flowers to Judy Woodford and the usual cup of tea, but this month accompanying our cupper were some delicious honey buns made by Michelle Irving, (nee Hume), a member of our committee.
Next month our speaker, who will give a talk regarding the production and uses of cider, is a gentleman coming all the way from Dumfries and Galloway named Chris Harrison. J.D.



As our meeting this time of year is no less than our Annual Meeting, the evening started with the usual monthly business.  Janis, our President, warmly greeted everyone, quickly went through outstanding business and of course greeted our W.I. Adviser Prudence Marks.

Items on the Agenda included – the winner of the monthly competitions, Caroline Martin, who was presented with a £10.00 Voucher; a theatre trip to see West Side Story on the afternoon of 21st July, tickets £21.00 to be paid to Pam Muggleton by the end of April; our annual outing on 11th August, to Beamish, and a mention of next month’s Speaker, which will be a talk by Sandra Carrott, entitled ‘Fantastic facts about Bees and Beekeeping, which sounds intriguing.  Janis also mentioned our contact with Swaziland W.I. had sadly died suddenly, but we hope to continue into the future our relationship as it was always interesting to hear of how their W.I. helped their local community which we endeavoured to play a part in a small way.

Sue Ellis has kindly offered to arrange a fashion show in her shop, Seasons, on April 20th and tickets were on sale at the meeting, £10.

Prudence then took over the meeting in the usual format with the presentation and adoption of the Financial Statement by our treasurer, Claire Smith, seconded by Judi Hill, followed by our Secretary, Yvonne Farmer, presenting her report, which was seconded by Pam Muggleton and voted for by a show of hands from the floor.  Our President, Janis Crook,  then gave her annual report thanking the committee for their support and hard work, a copy of which was put on the tables for members to read.  Prudence then read out the proposed committee, which is status quo with the exception of Esme Forster and Jean Cullen who have decided to retire and the addition of Pam Muggleton and Joan Davidson who have rejoined.  A secret ballot for President resulted in Janis being re-elected; Yvonne will continue as Secretary, Claire as Treasurer and the committee for 2016 are Caroline Martin, Celia Collinson, Barbara Galbraith, Sue Ellis, Sue Stancliffe, Ann Coyne, Michelle Irving, Pam Muggleton and Joan Davidson.

Prudence finished the Annual Meeting by discussing the two resolutions chosen to be discussed and voted on at the W.I. Annual Meeting, which this year is in Brighton –   ‘Appropriate care in hospitals for dementia patients’ and Avoiding food waste’  followed by a couple of her very humorous stories.

There was a delicious smell in the Hall by this time, which was Turnbull’s pies waiting to be served to the members, who were more than ready for them, accompanied by peas and gravy, so a good end to a good evening which is, traditionally, not the most favourite meeting of the year. 

So here is to another year of Alnmouth W.I. which I am sure will be as diverse, interesting and fun as ever.



Although still a bit on the chilly side, there was still a bit of light around which gave us hope that spring may not be too far away, when we made our way to our March meeting.

It was a good turnout of members both old and new so Janis and Yvonne quickly got the meeting started by reminding us firstly, that our next meeting is the Annual Meeting, secondly to think about joining the committee, and thirdly volunteers needed for a sub-committee to form a ‘think tank’ to get ideas of how to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2018 and just to show our W.I. is not all about committees finalizing details of our birthday dinner, which is on Wednesday next the 16th March.    There were also a couple of very nice invitations from local W.I.s – Embleton and Lesbury, plus Sue Ellis, our Vice President, owner of Seasons of Alnwick, has volunteered to host a Fashion Show at her premises on the evening of 20th April at 7.00, tickets for this event will be on sale at the next meeting.

Our Speaker for the evening Daniel Turnbull of Turnbulls of Alnwick was more than ready to demonstrate his skills with meat products so after being introduced by Janis we eagerly awaited hopefully to improve our skills.  He started off with a chicken which he quickly ‘spatchcocked’ all ready to pop in the oven, followed by creating two small roasts out of a shoulder of lamb and finally his own version of a beef wellington all of which looked delicious. Throughout his endeavours he chatted and answered various questions put to him by our members such as how long he had been butchering, his answer being, he started weekends whilst still at school at 15, leaving at 18 to go to University to study physics, at the behest of his father Mark son of John son of Robert et al   and returning 3 years later back into the firm, where he is now firmly part of the family team.   It was an excellent presentation both in his demonstration of his butchering skills and personality, we are very lucky to have such a well established, very much a family firm in our County town who has survived the ups and downs of today’s climate.   The only negative thing to say is, as much as we were pleased that certain members won these delectable treats in the raffle, we were very jealous, consolation is we can go to Turnbull’s any time and know they are available.   Sue Ellis gave Daniel an excellent vote of thanks on our behalf and asked him to choose the winner of this month’s competition, which was a rabbit (a nod to the Easter Bunny of course not a real one!) and the winner was Jill Bourne and runner up Caroline Martin.   The birthday flowers this month went to Celia Collinson.

A good chat and the usual cup of tea etc., ended our pleasant evening.

As already mentioned our next meeting in April is our Annual Meeting when our supper will be good old fashioned pie and peas (Turnbull’s pie of course!) please bring your own plate and cutlery 





In January Alnmouth’s Dancing Girls, paid tribute to one of their members, Ann MacLean, a member both of the ‘Dancing Girls’ and our W.I., who sadly passed away recently,  by ‘going public’ and doing their first show, and as part of the venture, included an afternoon tea.  We (the W.I.) were asked to come  on board.

As this was also a fund raiser for the floor of upstairs in the Hindmarsh Hall, which is in dire DSC_0825modneed of  renovation, (and of course is very important to us as this  is our meeting room) we agreed.  The call went out for cakes and scones from the members and the ‘dancing girls’ and they came up trumps.  At the time, we didn’t quite take in that it might be a sell out; as the day approached we did get an inkling from picking our papers up from the village P.O. that the tickets ‘were in great demand’  so it turned into quite a challenge – one we met face on, of course – WE ARE the W.I.  We didn’t even have time to catch up with ‘the craic’.  Must admit  the finished product would not have come amiss in any  5* hotel – congratulations to all our bakers.

Ann would have been proud and we are delighted our Hall also benefits.






FEBRUARY W.I. REPORT     As our President, Janis, had an unfortunate accident on the day of the our meeting, her ‘Vice’ was in the chair, Sue Ellis, who together with Yvonne, our Secretary, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and thanking them for battling the wild winds prevailing in Alnmouth that night.

Yvonne began by going through up and coming events, including our 98th birthday dinner which we are celebrating in the Hindmarsh Hall with a 3 course dinner, with the luxury of being catered for by Beaches in Alnmouth, which is a big treat for us, especially the ‘catering team’.   This will be on Wednesday at 7.00 on the 16th March and tickets are available from Yvonne, our secretary, and it is a B.Y.O. (bringing your own glasses of course).

Our own website is now back in action, we are delighted to announce, under (if you care to check us out!) and we have a certain gentleman named John Bailey, who we have to thank for this. He calmly dealt with four ladies (all with strong opinions of course!!) and created our beautiful web site, which we are delighted with.

Before Sue asked our Speaker, John Yearnshire, to start his presentation there was an unexpected event as the W.I. ‘songsters’ (I use the term loosely) were asked to parade in singing our Suffragette song and we were presented with a beautiful scroll from Mary Hollins for taking part in ‘Years to Remember’ which she produced, directed and also took part in (brilliant lady). Sue Ellis also, on our behalf, thanked Mary for all her endeavours and presented her with a lovely bouquet.

John, who had been very patiently waiting, started his fascinating talk, beginning at the start of his career in the police force aged 16, until he retired.   He had an amazing journey through his police years gradually working his way through C.I.D., both Task and Special Forces, then an Instructor in forensics at the National Police College in Co. Durham before moving to Abu Dhabi to train both men and women in their police force.   Quite a career and one that lead him to us to talk about Forensics.

He covered three cases in his talk to us –   The First – the Soham Murders which happened in 2002 when two school children, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, were murdered by a College Caretaker. Named   Ian     Huntley , subsequently given 2 life sentences , who still refuses to apologise The Second – The Great Train Robbery, in 1963, well publicised, involving 15 ‘robbers’ the most famous of which was Ronnie Biggs who escaped prison and spent most of his life in Brazil just to name one of the ‘15’ and The Third – The A6 Murder, in 1962.   James Hanratty, hanged at Bedford Gaol in 1962 after shooting and killing Michael Gregsten, as well as raping and shooting Valerie Storey who survived but now is permanently in a wheelchair. It was voice recognition at the time that convicted him, by Valerie Storey in a line up.   Many questioned the evidence and claimed it was too weak to convict him but after carrying out DNA tests in 2002 it was proved beyond doubt that he was guilty. The first and third cases were both solved by DNA, first used in 1995, the most expensive case to date being the Soham Murders which was solved by fibres found under the new tyres he put on his car after valeting it after the crime.   John’s talk was just amazing, as he said DNA is absolutely foolproof, of course human, error is not, which is why we see the police (in Silent Witness of course!) entirely covered up from head to toe to avoid contamination. Sue thanked John for an excellent talk which everyone enjoyed and we appreciated his long journey on such an atrocious evening.

We ended in the usual way by a good cup of tea and much chat of course. Next month our Speaker is Daniel Turnbull from our local butchers, who will talk about meat and cooking methods, something most of us are always interested in.   Stay warm   J.D.


Compliments of the season to everyone.  It’s good to be back to normal and, apart from the atrocious weather which seems to be lasting forever, a fair proportion of our members bravely battled the elements and made it to our first meeting of 2016.

Janis, our President warmly welcomed us and started the meeting by thanking all who had helped make our Christmas Party such an enjoyable night.  The food was excellent, our usual ‘inhouse caterers’ of course were up to their usual standard; the Hindmarsh Hall looked very festive indeed, having been beautifully decorated by our very accomplished ‘florists’ and the welcome glass of Proscecco didn’t come amiss either, to get us in the party mood.  The atmosphere was great – lots of hilarity and chat of course, helped by a game we hadn’t played before called ‘measles’, then trying out our dancing skills to the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ theme and our traditional exchange of presents.  It finished all too soon with the singing of Auld Lang Syne (sign of a good party) and a great start to our Christmas.

Yvonne and Janis then got down to the business of the evening, going through all the  correspondence that had accumulated, including various events and invitations received, suitably noted in our 2016 W.I. Diaries of course.  In particular a Winter Warmer Lunch organised by Longhoughton and Boulmer W.I., and a meeting of our Hotspur Group , both in February.  Quite a few events listed in our Federation News Letter also, so plenty going on over the winter months.  This is the month we have to pay our subscription also so Claire Smith, our Treasurer, was kept busy taking our money!

By this time we had discovered that our Speaker, had unfortunately to cancel at the last minute because of flooding, so Janis and Yvonne took the opportunity to discuss the Resolutions.  Each year members have the chance to put forward issues that they want  the NFWI to campaign on, or raise awareness about, and have done since the W.I. was formed in 1915.  There are some even still relevant today actually and all the successful  Resolutions over the years are on the NFWI web site and are really interesting.     Yvonne quickly gave a talk on each one as listed in the WI.Life and then threw the discussion out to the floor which promoted many diverse opinions.  Although members are asked to consider these resolutions and select which they would like to take forward for discussion and final voting at the Annual Meeting next June, Janis took a ball park count out of interest and by a show of our member’s hands, it appears Food Waste seemed to get the most votes and Mind and Body very close.

It was an interesting night and after all that discussion of course we were more than ready for a cup of tea and a mince pie which set us in good stead to face the elements again.

Joan Davidson