Author Archives: Greg Jones

WI report – March 2018

We were all inspired by our Speaker, Marion Dale who told us how to create a dream garden, with colour and plants.

Marion’s background was very different from garden designer, being a Marketing Consultant in London, but after thinking for some time about a change of career, a redundancy notice gave her the push to take the plunge. Moving to a converted barn in a village near Marlborough, Marion’s garden was the original cow yard.Hedges of beech, large windows in the barn which let in light, afforded very little privacy, plus the added  burden of a lawn which comprised more weeds than grass, Marion decided something had to be done. Not sure how to proceed, Marion enrolled at Lackham College, plus studying City and Guilds qualification at night school. Her final assignment a show garden won a Gold Medal at the Bath and West Show.

Moving to Somerset four and a half years ago, now living in Tintinhull, renovating a Victorian cottage and garden. Marion advised us to think about the style of garden we would wish to create. Italian style gardens are very formal with very few flowers but lots of water and geometrical landscaping. Cottage style gardens where plants take on shape and form. Modern contemporary style with reflective metal, coloured clippings, minimalistic. Lower maintenance gardens using resin bound gravel, hard landscaping, very little in the way of flowers. Wildlife garden, wild flowers which can prove very difficult to maintain, or a themed garden.

It is very important to select the right plants for the soil, soil testing should be first priority.On visiting any garden centre for the first time, the golden rule is take no money, but arm yourself with a notebook and pencil and ask lots of questions.

Write down the full botanical names, don’t worry about the pronunciation.  Clay soil takes longer to warm up but holds heat and nutrients, but cannot be worked when it is wet. Remember, work out how much space you have, do not pick plants which will outgrow your garden.Marion advised us as to the best plants to grow to suit various conditions, all of this advice illustrated by a very informative slide show. We all know now where we have been going wrong, no excuses now not to have a dream garden.

Angela thanked Marion for such an informative talk.

The competition for a buttonhole in any medium was won by Sally with lavender and Polyhymnia, second Pat Maddaford with camellia, third Angela with osteospermum. The flower of the month was won by Trish with chionodoxa.

Trish welcomed back Patricia Heap after a long absence and also two visitors.

Dates to Remember

18 April Group Spring Meeting at Shapwick.

18 July Visit to Midelney Manor House with cream tea.

26 May Celebration of Votes for Women & SFWI 12 noon to 3.30 pm Meadway Hall Compton Dundon with Ploughman’s Lunch, Entertainment £7.50.

We were reminded that visitors are to pay £4 per visit with visits restricted to two per year.

Next month’s Speaker is Yvonne Bell, Hobble Skirts and Harem Pants.

Wendy Edwards.

WI Report – Feb 18

Alan Dean, who has lived in Compton Dundon for two years now kindly stepped into the breach as Speaker following the non arrival of the booked Speaker.

Alan and his wife are both qualified chemists, his subject, Pharmacy In The Plant. Alan and his wife Diane moved to the West Country from Yorkshire, having served, amongst other roles

as a Chief Pharmacist in hospitals for 30 to 40 years.

Diane’s first love is gardening which she has combined with looking after Alan and raising three children, having met Alan and married at Bath University. Another hobby is playing bridge and boules.

Inspired by plants and medicines derived therefrom, not strictly herbal. Aided by a slide show Alan showed us the progress made over the last fifty years. During his training, Latin was the principal language and suppositories were a very effect way of administering medicines, pills were hand made, we saw pictures of pill rolling equipment and mounds for pessaries. One sure way of finding out if a laxative pill was effective was to listen to them rolling around in the bed pan!

Plants are producers, manufacturers, static and vulnerable to attack whilst animals are consumers, mobile, pursuers and grazers.

Plants need a defence mechanism, thorns etc  but mostly defence was chemical attacking the nervous system of predatory animals.

Over the years the development of medicines taken from plants has to be controlled and whilst Alan is not against herbal medicines as such, it is important to know what is going on.

Various groups of plants include Mallow which produce a gum like substance, Great Kelp seaweed used to treat reflux problems and historically the treatment of wounds. Belladonna, eye examinations, Yew which is toxic used to treat some forms of cancer and many more, too numerous to mention here.

Frances Riley thanked Alan, saying that it was the second time she had heard Alan speak on this subject, previously at Gardening Club and it spoke volumes as to the quality of the Speaker that she had found it equally fascinating the second time around. We all agreed with this sentiment.

At the business meeting, Trish welcomed back Verity who has been absent for some months following a fall at home and a hip replacement. Verity thanked members for flowers, cards and especially a visit from Mary.

Four members went to  a Kurling competition hosted by Walton W I at Walton village hall, it was a superb evening, all of the W Is in the Group represented, lots of skills demonstrated, much laughter and well meant advice, tea and cake consumed and Compton Dundon reached the semi final, much to our surprise. Thankyou Walton for inviting us.

Trip to the Octagon Yeovil for the Vicar of Dibley, preceded by tea Thursday 22 February.

Scrabble at Sue’s Wednesday 21 February 6.45 p m .

Dates to Remember

Saturday  28 April Banner Parade celebrating 100 years of W I.

Wednesday 21 March Road Show, Meadway Hall, Hosts, Compton Dundon, Speakers’ subjects, Dogs Trust and S S Great Britain.

Saturday 26 May Centenary Events at Meadway Hall, 12 noon to 3.30 p m. come and support your W I.

The competition for a heart  shaped article was Angie Castle with a cushion, Sue with a glass heart and Trish a heart shaped stone.

Wendy won the Flower of the Month with a sprig of daphne.

Next month’s Speaker, Georgie Newberry, Wedding Flowers, Competition a buttonhole in any medium.

Wendy Edwards.

WI Report – January 2018

Our Speaker for the first meeting of 2018 was Karen Burge whose subject was Detoxing and Exercise.

Karen is very passionate about her subject and explained in great detail how important it is to regularly detox our bodies of impurities.

Karen is not a great believer in dieting in order to achieve weight loss as she feels the underlying causes of being overweight are much more complicated and need to be dealt with in very different ways. If consulted, Karen offers help in managing stress, mental health problems and digestive disorders.

Apart from eating the wrong foods, toxins can be taken into the body by other means and Karen stressed we must be very careful just what products we put on our skin. As we all know, one of the most important and simple things we can do is to drink lots of water.

Karen gave us a great deal to think about and she was thanked by Angela.

Subscriptions were due this month, Trish announced she was to run her Savings Club again this year and Pat presented the Financial Statement

Angela explained that although Tony Warren had printed and produced an excellent programme for our forthcoming year, Tony was not completely happy with the quality and hence made no charge, this is very generous, thankyou Tony.

Angela announced two outings

1. A performance of The Vicar of Dibley at the Octagon Yeovil

2. 12 April A visit to the racing establishment of Andrew Balding followed by a trip to Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey).

Scrabble evenings will start again and several members expressed an interest in taking part in a Kurling Competition hosted by Walton W I on Friday February 16 at Walton Village Hall.

The competition for an action photograph was won by Janet Davies     second

Denise Larson and third Pat Maddaford. Trish Cox presented the winning flower of the month with a bright and cheery marigold.

Next month’s Speaker is Lucy Harper, subject  Moringa Oleifera, the competition Something Heartshaped. It is to be hoped that more members will be able to attend if the weather improves and the flu bugs are avoided.

Wendy Edwards.

WI Report – Dec 17

Only 17 members braved the elements on Wednesday evening, which was a shame as Kay Wych, accompanied by her husband, Bill, kept us well entertained with her account of how she became a 16th century kitchen maid.

Born and bred in Glastonbury, in sight of the Tor, Kay’s early career was at a local factory working in the office, having been brought up to the sound of typewriters clacking as her grandmother with whom she lived, was a teacher of shorthand and typing. Quickly realising that her colleagues spoke the Queens English whereas Kay had a distinct Somerset accent (nothing wrong with that) Kay decided to improve her diction and joined a drama class.

Glastonbury Arts Club set her on her way, appearing in plays at Strode Theatre, and open air theatre in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. Kay said think of life’s events being governed by three seeds. The first seed Kay put in the pot was taking part in drama The second was to study history, particularly of the local area.The third seed was archaeology.

Slowly, as she talked, Kay transformed herself into a 16th century maid, donning the appropriate clothes. Adopting the name of Alyce, she wore only blue or ochre as, at that time, only the rich were allowed to wear red, The material would be wool or linen. Fleas were commonplace and little bonnets were known as “nit caps”.

Alyce made things to sell, a salve for the “piles”made from lesser celandine roots.

Gradually the story emerged of the dissolution of the monasteries and the effect this had on people such as Alyce. Kay was joined by Bill, appropriately dressed as the King’s Officer, who confirmed the arrest of Bishop Whiting, who was subsequently hung, drawn and quartered.

Angela thanked Kay, adding that the wearing of the costumes had added to the authenticity of the telling of the events in the past..

December 6th saw a very good attendance at the annual Christmas Dinner, held this year at the Castlebrook Inn. The warmth of the welcome from the landlord and his wife, was matched by the excellence of the service and the food. A first class evening, a big Thankyou to Val Day and Trish for the organising and to the Castlebrook staff.

December 4th we took part in the Group Christmas Concert held at Westonzoyland Church. Anthea had put together an interpretation of the origin of the words of the popular carol Oh Little Town of  Bethlehem, an English and an American version. We have since received an accolade from Mo Retford County Music and  Drama firstly thanking Anthea for playing the organ for the general carols and secondly telling us that our presentation was exactly what she had been looking for, we are delighted.

Several members attended the annual carol service at Wells Cathedral.

Correspondence included an invitation from Liz Brown of Walton W I to a Kurling competition, Walton Village Hall, February 16 teams of 4, £10 per  team, supporters welcome at £2 each. We hope to field two teams.

Polden Hills Business Meeting, January 15 Woolavington Village Hall 7.30p m.

Frances reminded members of the next concert at the Meadway 17 February featuring the Church Fitters.

After all this we were more than ready for our Bucks Fizz, orange juice and mince pies.The raffle for the Christmas Hampers was won by Angela Castle, second Kay Wych, third Sheila Taylor, with the fourth prize a picture of Somerset Landscape won by Janet Davies.

Presentation of Awards.

W I Shield for Cookery at the Flower Show…Julie Gordon.

Cup for Flower of the Month Competition…Pat Maddaford.

Cup for Monthly Competition …Pat Maddaford.

The competition for a Frilly Apron was won by Pat Maddaford who also won The Flower of the Month with a rose.

Wendy Edwards.

WI Report – November 2017

Rachel Harding, our Speaker kept us fascinated with her Rhinestones and Sequins, Memoirs of A Competitive Ballroom Dancer. Her mother always taught her that self praise is no praise at all and Rachel has tried to adopt this motto throughout her dancing career.Starting at a social evening in their local village where Rachel danced quite happily whilst her husband sat in the corner, refusing to take to the floor. One very persuasive lady however would not leave him alone and he was finally dragged on to  the dance floor. At the end of the evening, his face was matching the colour of his tie – bright red.

On the journey home he vowed never again to be so humiliated and announced he was to learn to dance . Not quite believing what she was hearing, Rachel enrolled at their local dance school where they began with the traditional 1 2 3,1 2 3, which they practised over and over again, with the furniture pushed out of the way, at home.This was followed by the next lessons, 4 5 6, 4 5 6, again practised over and over again. Suddenly their teacher told them she felt they were ready for bigger and better things. Rachel and her partner ( as her husband was now known)  moved to an Advanced Class where, mesmerised, they were able to pick out some of the steps.Subsequently they were ready for a medal class.

Ordinary shoes are no good at all for competitive dancing, special shoes were purchased and Rachel began to make her dance dresses, her other love in life is sewing.Her partner was to wear a matching waistcoat to her dress, again her needle came in useful.

Progressing through the various stages, dresses became more elaborate and her partner had his dance jacket especially tailor made.

Rachel and her partner excelled at Latin dancing but the ballroom techniques were more difficult.This latter problem was solved when they were introduced to Peter Elliott, an ex World Champion. He gave lessons at Newbury, so much closer to home than London.Under his tutorage everything improved and they went from strength in ballroom dancing.

An extra section in the ballroom dancing competition at Gloucester was for Lady Elegant in which the dress, charisma and personality is judged as well as the dancing. Rachel, still making her own dresses, and what wonderful dresses they were, won right through to a 5th stage but, as they were by now dancing all over the world, this competition clashed with a dancing date in Germany which was judged to be more beneficial.

The Latin dancing had stagnated but its revival was  brought about by tutoring by Tony Goodyear of Bath, also an ex World Champion. Meeting  many famous people, amongst them Len Goodman who remarked on their charisma and confidence.The basic principles for both techniques are similar.

During the 14 years of active competitive dancing, Rachel and her husband ran their own business, managed a large house and garden  and raised two children, who incidentally took no interest in dance  but scoffed at their parents “prancing about”.

Rachel  brought one of her beautiful dresses for us  to examine and admire, plus lots of photographs of their dancing career.

Answering questions which were lively and varied, Rachel said her favourite Latin dances were Jive and Rumba and ballroom, the Foxtrot.

Frances thanked Rachel, saying how much she envied her life of dance, Frances would love to do the same but had married a non dancer.

Business meeting.

A very successful trip was made to Thatchers Cider Factory followed by a delicious lunch at the adjoining Railway Inn.Angela was thanked for her organisation of this trip.

A thankyou letter was received from Anthea for flowers and card received following her recent operation, we were pleased Anthea was able to attend the meeting. Pat Maddaford presented the Financial Statement showing a healthy balance.

Dates to Remember.

November 10 Drama Rehearsal at Mary Burt’s 4p m November 21 Craft Club at the Hall, 9.30 -12.

November 22 Scrabble at Julie Gordon’s 6.45p m December 4 Group Christmas Concert at Westonzoyland December 6 Christmas Meal Castlebrook Inn 7 for 7.30p m December 13 Christmas Party at Meadway Hall, Speaker, Kay Wych, Maid at Glastonbury Abbey.Mince pies, tea and coffee, Secret Santa, wrapped gifts to the value of £5.Raffle for two luxury hampers.

The competition for an evening bag was won by Christina Napper with Pat Maddaford and Angela Castle second and third. The Flower of the  Month, winner Pat Maddaford with begonias.

Wendy Edwards.