Terry Penny talked about the secret history of nursery rhymes at the monthly meeting of the local WI. It was a surprise to many people to learn the historical political allusions contained in familiar nursery jingles. Some dismay was expressed when it was revealed that there were no places remaining for the Christmas dinner for the members who missed the previous meeting. However, this has now been sorted out. Reports were given on the Presentation Afternoon and on the outing to Legal London which had been much enjoyed. Arrangements for three new interest groups---crochet, gardening and photography--- are all looking promising.
A large audience from all the Bucks WIs came to hear Ingrid Seward the founder of “Majesty” magazine talk about the speeches that the Queen has made during her reign and to view the photos contained in her book “The Queen’s Speech”. This mostly covered the Christmas broadcasts but set in the context of what was happening in royal circles at the time. We were privileged to learn about what it is to be a society journalist travelling with the Queen. Later Lesley Cutler spoke about her exhaustive training in fashion design: during her varied career Lesley had worked in Norman Hartnell’s studio producing coats and gowns for the late Queen Mother. She had also worked with Aquascutum and Elisabeth Emanuel. Lesley now runs a bridal wear business in Milton Keynes where she creates beautiful gowns from exquisite materials. There didn’t seem to be a line of dressmaking or tailoring in which Lesley had not trained. Eat your heart out those contestants on the “Great British Sewing Bee”.
What a marvellous place to hold the meeting---loads of space, good acoustics and plenty of parking! Some WI members from the south of the county had hired a mini-coach in order to attend, so how shaming that our WI could produce only one to pop down the road to Wolverton for such a worthwhile event to round off the Queen’s celebration year.
The book group members have been reading “Revelation” by C.J.Sansom. They enjoy these historical thrillers even though we have now read two of the Matthew Shardlake novels out of order. It doesn’t matter as the novels are each complete in themselves. The account of the events of the year in which Catherine Parr was having to decide to take on Henry VIII while a serial killer is working out his religiously motivated murders is very exciting. The racial and religious tensions rife in London at that time seem horribly familiar to our society today.
The Presentations Afternoon was held in Winslow today. This is a meeting when the WI members planning future programmes can listen to a group of speakers who are willing to come to WIs. There were five presentations: one on art therapy, a representative from a chocolate manufacturer, a singer accompanying herself on a guitar, a writer of thrillers and a Japanese lady in traditional dress giving a short demonstration of ikebana flower arranging. The acoustics in the hall were not good which wasn’t really fair to the speakers on trial but there was a lot of interest shown in some of the talks so I imagine it will have achieved its end. These meetings are always interesting and enjoyable and of great help to programme planners.