As I was unable to attend the meeting myself, I am working from the excellently detailed report from our Secretary. This was the month that we entertain ourselves, with numerous members displaying their wide-ranging talents. From amusing stories to our of our most senior members demonstrating her yoga abilities, via the committee's 'before and after' contribution - to call the programme 'varied.' would be an understatement. When you put this alongside the Breast Care comfort cushions that are being sent to JPH, the pictures from our Shoe Box Appeal that are being added to our memory book; the members who will be assisting with the Beccles Spring Clean; the defibrillator outside the Butcher's Arms, to say nothing of all the knitted things sent to Malawi, it really makes you feel that, in our small way, we are making a difference. Well done Beccles Morning WI members! Take a bow!
We seemed rather a select number of members at our February meeting, with colds and other winter ailments affecting the attendance. We started by discussing the possible resolutions for the national AGM. If this demonstrated anything, it was that the WI's range of interests is wide-ranging, to say the least! Possible resolutions covered areas from pelvic floor health to the adverse effects of vanishing rural bus services. After coffee Louise Thorpe from the Fritton Owl Sanctuary entranced us all when she showed us her beautiful rescued barn owl (Inca). This magnificent creature with her wonderful plumage, was considered by all at the Sanctuary to be a male ... until she laid eggs! We were told of the 5 native species of owl with whom the Sanctuary works. It came as a surprise to me and, I suspect others to hear how small owls are under all the feathers - a barn owl's skull, for example, is the size of a golf ball. We heard of the Sanctuary's expansion plans to a site in Oulton Broad as part of a new attraction. The Fritton site will be retained as a hospital facility. We wish them all the best with their excellent work. The meeting closed with competition and raffle results.
2019 for Beccles Morning WI started on January 2nd, lovely to meet up with members again. The December meeting with all the festivities seemed such a long time ago. We are full of good intentions, and there is much on offer for the New Year. A new Craft Club is launched .The monthly ‘Ladies Who Lunch’ and ‘Coffee and Walk’ have proved so popular they are now regular outings on the 2019 Programme. Our joint bowling with North Cove and Barnby is to continue. The Beccles Morning WI Perpetual Cup for ‘The Best Decorated Christmas Cake’ was won this year by Alana Bellington. The Yr 10 students at Sir John Leman produce work of such a consistent high standard judging is never easy The talk was about ACWW (Associated Country Women of the World) and we learnt more about the WI’s partnership with this organisation. Our walk supporting ACWW ‘ Women Walk the World ‘ will this year be on April 29th.
On a grey afternoon it was great to be going to our WI Christmas party and an excellent way to start feeling 'Christmas-sy'! Judith, the committee and all their helpers had worked tremendously hard to make the tables festive-looking and provide delicious eats and drinks. Our warm thanks to all who made it possible. We were entertained by our own singers as well as a welcome return appearance of the ukulele group, Rumpus. There was a (difficult!) Christmas-themed quiz at which some (me, to be specific!) did appallingly badly but others much better. We must not forget that our first meeting of 2019 will be on January 2nd. The competition letter will be F as 2019's competition 'word' will be Federation. Merry Christmas everyone!
Once again, there were delightful, colourful .knitted items that members had made for Malawi on view - beautiful jumpers, cardigans, hats and blankets. They looked magnificent and represent many hours of work and effort. Judith showed some of them - there were too many to show them all - and reminded us that in many African countries, white is the colour of mourning and so should be avoided. Our WI had received a regional award for groups undertaking volunteer tasks and our President and Secretary had attended the awards ceremony in Lowestoft, where the splendid (glass) award was presented. We were all greatly amused (although full of sympathy!) for the tale of the rather disconcerting 'wardrobe malfunction' which our President had been obliged to endure during the event!! It gives a whole new dimension to the phrase 'a sinking feeling'! After coffee, with Kate Peacher supervising, and having listened to our Treasurr's , Secretary's and President's reports, our elections were held. Judith remains our President. There were presentations to two retiring committee members. We are all aware of their great help and service to our WI. Many thanks to both Kathleen and Marjorie.
There was a definite autumnal 'tang' in the air as we assembled for our meeting. Judith welcomed everyone. She showed some of the exquisite knitted items that members had made, that will soon be, literally 'winging' their way to Malawi. They are much-needed during chilly night-time temperatures. Our first speaker, Mr Tony Rainbird, talked of the work of the Beccles Men's Shed - which is part of the international Men's Shed organisation. This gives men a chance to meet and socialise regularly. He spoke of their efforts to find a more central meeting place, which would be more easily accessible for many. After coffee, our fascinating speakers from the National Trust at Sutton Hoo told us the story of the site and its excavation. To look at the (replica) jewels, with their beautiful inlaid garnets (from Afghanistan) gives you a rather different perspective on the craftsmanship and navigational skills of those who lived in the so-called Dark Ages! The meeting ended with brief reports from our Group 18 rep, Treasurer and Secretary.
It was good to find Judith, our President, looking well and in good form after her surgery. We were still short of some members, who are away on holiday. It was good to welcome two newcomers who came to give us a 'tryout'. We hope you enjoyed yourselves and will come again. Our speaker before coffee gave an energetic display of seated exercises. Then after coffee, our main speaker, Kindra Jones, gave us a fascinating overview of a thousand years of costume. She had brought some examples along to show us. She pointed out the particular significance of some changes in fashion - eg the alteration in headdress style between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, which emphasised the change in relevant influence. Personally, I hadn't realised the number of layers of clothing that were worn (both for warmth and laundry-saving purposes) in earlier times. It left me feeling particularly thankful for the freedom and ease of present day clothing! Raffle and competition results brought the meeting to a close.
Having complained on so many occasions about rotten weather, it seems churlish to complain of the blazingly hot day for our garden party! Suffice it to say that places in the shade were keenly sought in Val's garden, as she had been kind enough to volunteer as host. Our grateful thanks to Val and her band of helpers, who provided drinks and delicious cakes. We were without our President as she is recovering from surgery. We all hope she's soon feeling better. There was a quiz with a baking theme at which some of us did incredibly badly due to the heat (that's my excuse and i'm sticking to it!) and a big raffle. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Thanks Val and all helpers!
On a perfect, hot, sunny morning we met for our July meeting. Judith welcomed everyone. There were few empty chairs as some members were away on holiday (including, it would seem, one who is cruising the Norwegian fjords .... in the rain!) Judith was happy to report the great success of the Charter weekend activities at the Library. Well done everyone who worked so hard to make it so successful. Details of next month's garden party were distributed. Don't forget, raffle prizes are needed, so bring them along. Before coffee, speakers from Santander briefed us on how to recognise and thwart scammers - they could be on-line, on the landline or mobile phone, via mail or even on the doorstep. New scams are developing all the time, so we need to remain vigilant. Our colourful and animated speaker, after coffee (Mrs Judith Gibbs), was attired in full Turkish national costume. She told us of her move to Turkey in the 1990s and how she lived and worked there (in a restaurant) where she met her (Turkish) husband. She regaled us with tales from her life there, including her (very personal) method of hatching of silkworms! Judith reminded everyone of the September event at the Quaker Hall, when the short play commemorating the Suffrage meeting in Beccles 100 years ago, will be staged. Raffle and competition results brought the meeting to a close.