A rather warm day to be inside discussing books but far too hot to be outside in the garden. The novel today was “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne. This has been made into a film. It is a disturbing story which was written for teenagers as well as adults. To a certain extent, the fact that our generation is aware beforehand of the circumstances the author is describing will have given us a different slant to that of a youngster approaching the book; a person who has been spared the details of the horror of the holocaust. The innocence of the young boys in the story as they are pulled into the cruel world produced by the conflicting ideologies of their elders is so sad. And then that last hanging statement of the novel. ”Of course all this happened a long time ago and nothing like that could ever happen again. Not in this day and age.” Written in 2006 by an Irishman it reveals the true message behind the book which applies just as poignantly now-a-days in many lands further away from home.
I visited the Mid-Devon County Agricultural Show today and as you would expect I had a look at the WI tent. The Federation had its own large marquee which also housed the Country Markets. The displays were impressive and the competitive inter-WIs contributions were exciting a lot of interest and comment. Obviously the WIs were set a theme but they were given a larger area in which to display their entries. The frames were deeper so didn’t look so “busy”/crowded as ours tend to do at the Bucks Show. The WI Advisers were doing their promotional work and there was an interesting stall set up for the Denman College Appeal and ACWW.
The discussion group met tonight over a glass of wine to talk about the emergency services. Once again it is surprising the amount of voluntary work which is included within what one would expect to be a state system. We were full of admiration for the scope of the services available, ranging from the air ambulance to the new first response cars. We also acknowledged the way in which big business and industries respond to the needs of people caught up in floods and disasters. The discussion also afforded us time to tell members about the local emergency scheme which operates across counties in which the WI plays its part. Many WIs have a list of trained members who are willing to make themselves available if an emergency arises in the neighbourhood, such as major transport accidents. One doesn’t need to have medical expertise: the ability to get to a village hall or school which has been set up as a relief centre, to make and receive phone calls, to listen or just to serve refreshments and provide a calming influence, may be all that is required. Fortunately, one may never be called upon but the hospitals and police really appreciate help in these ways so that they can get on with the jobs we cannot do.