Thursday, 11 May 2017

Our WI had an outing to Pashley Manor on Friday, 5th May.... we had a coach full! Although the weather was a little cool, everyone still enjoyed themselves. Fortunately, there were still more than a a few of the lovely tulips about. After all, it was the Tulip Festival!



These photos were all taken by Tracie Fulton, one of our members. She did an excellent job of capturing the day and the beauty of the gardens.



Pashley Manor is a privately owned garden, started in 1550, enlarged in 1770, and developed into today's gardens by the current owners and residents, Mr and Mrs James Sellick, who opened the gardens in 1992. They open the gardens to the public from April to September. Visitors can enjoy the cafe and gift shop also. For more information, go to http://www.pashleymanorgardens.com/.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Garden season begins!

Our WI garden group had a wonderful visit to Pheasant Farm in Oare, near Faversham on Monday, 10th of April. Although the wind was a little chilly, it was sunny and beautiful when we found ourselves sheltered from that wind.

Pheasant Farm is owned by the Neame family and they opened it for the National Garden Scheme (NGS), which operates in Kent every Spring. Most of the gardens in the NGS are privately owned and graciously opened to the public for donations to various charities. It's a real treat to be able to look into these lovely settings, so carefully and passionately prepared by their dedicated gardeners.

Next to the home is the picturesque church with fabulous views overlooking the estuary.

There were about 13 of us and were left to wander and wonder at our own pace.

Unfortunately, the timing was a bit off as the daffodils were fading, soon to be followed by the tulips. We saw some gorgeous tulips, though, in borders and pots and dramatically dotted around the gardens.

Here Ann was looking out to the estuary. What is not apparent from this photo, however, is that just a few feet beyond where she stood, the ground dropped sharply down to reveal a small orchard just below her.

Just liked the look of this keyring on the kitchen door!

This view was from the kitchen in the house. We thought it might be just a bit too chilly to sit outside for our lovely cream tea (see below) but I took this photo from the dining table where we sat inside, nice and snug and warm! 

And who could resist this lovely assortment of homemade jam, scones, bread, and brownies! Our WI certainly knows how to pick the best places to visit and to EAT!

Friday, 24 March 2017

East Kent ACM

This week was the annual East Kent Federation ACM in Margate. As usual, we alternate years between the Winter Gardens in Margate with Leas Hall in Folkestone. It's difficult to find a venue in Kent that can hold over 1,000 WI members!

This year we were privileged to have as speaker Terry Waite, who was held hostage for nearly five years in Lebanon. He served as the Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs for the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in the 1980s. As an envoy for the Church of England, he travelled to Lebanon to try to secure the release of four hostages but in doing so, he was himself kidnapped and held captive from 1987 to 1991. He explained that for much of that time, he was in solitary confinement, not allowed anything to read any books or newspapers or to listen to any news until the end of his five years when a sympathetic guard brought him some books to read. Unfortunately, the guard didn't read English so brought him whatever books in English he could find. Mr Waite found humour in the first selection, "Great Escapes", and later in "The Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding." I wish I had a recording of his speech or had at least taken notes, but I think we were all enthralled with just listening.

Mr Waite gave a wonderful inspiring talk, the gist of which encouraged everyone to never give up. During the lunch break, he patiently signed some of his books (for over an hour), which completely sold out.

Please excuse the very poor photographs! I was using my small camera which used to take fair photos but lately it's been acting up. Mr Waite was very gracious to pose for his photo.... he didn't know how bad my camera was!

There were over 1000 of us attending and we were all caught up in his talk! Even the next day, we were talking about it.

The  second speaker was from Pilgrim's Hospice and she gave a very thorough overview of what that charity does and how they help beyond the hospice care. This year there was no entertainment as there was in previous years, but it was a good day out and for catching up with many friends and for hearing Terry Waite!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016



Ho ho ho! 'Tis the season! Our WI has been at it again with a great Christmas party. Our drama group provided us with a Christmas variety show. We had a few comedy skits:
This was our president (Ingrid) and secretary (Pat) acting out a husband and wife scene.

Same scene, but Ingrid as Father Christmas (wink)!

And several cast members read Christmas poetry.

And even a great carol concert and sing-along!

Just to put us in even more of a festive mood, we had a little taste of Prosecco and some mince pies. It was a great way to set us all off in the holiday spirit!

Our South Street WI wishes a very happy Christmas and wonderful new year to all.


Monday, 5 December 2016

Brick Lane Music Hall

Yes, it's been a long while since the last post, but that doesn't mean we haven't been busy. Our WI is one of the larger and busier groups, so something is always happening.

Last Friday, 2 December, we took a coach load of 41 members and guests to Brick Lane Music Hall in London. What a wonderful treat! It was a Christmas lunch followed by a Christmas-theme variety show. First, I have to mention the hall itself. It's in a large converted church near the city airport, so not near Brick Lane at all. When we walked in, we were spell-bound by the amazing decor and lighting. It was decorated for Christmas, of course, but the hall is always atmospheric. Unfortunately this means that the photos (see below) are strangely coloured, but they do represent the true colours we saw in the hall. It holds about 200 people, so there were other groups from around the UK as well as ours.

The meal was superb: For starters we had a deliciously creamy tomato-basil soup with baskets of baguettes and butter. Our main course was roast turkey, mixed vegetables, and some of the best roast potatoes I've ever had, with all the accompaniments (gravy, cranberry sauce, etc.). This was followed by Christmas pudding in a creamy sauce. The service was also amazing. How they managed to serve that many people at one time, keeping the food piping hot, is a minor miracle!



These  photos give an idea of the scale of the hall and the decoration. It felt like we'd gone into an enchanted cavern. 
 

As you can see, the lighting is really spectacular but seriously distorts the photos. I've attempted to correct the colours in the photo below but it's just impossible.


After the meal, we were entertained by the Brick Lane's own talent, with comedy skits, Christmas carols, and a few comedian's monologues. It was beautiful costumes, lovely singing, and hilarious comedy. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed of the entertainment, so we have only the memories. But what good ones!

And many thanks to our own Linda Swift for organising it all. She was presented with flowers and they took her photo. She didn't want that photo, however, so I'm not going to put it here either.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Summer's Here

[I know this blog is not updated very regularly but frankly there is only ONE person to do it and that person is ME! I was hoping, when I set it up, to get a lot of photos and information from our members, but it hasn't happened. Our chapter has well over 100 members with an average attendance at monthly meetings of about 80. We have book clubs, a garden group, a camera group, a craft group, a drama group, a French group, and plenty of outings, special tea, harvest supper, quiz night, and more. Lots of things to blog about then..... so I'm hoping someone will read this and step up with some contributions. To contribute, you don't have to actually deal with the blog business, just email me the text and a couple of photos. Easy peasy!]

On 4 July the garden group visited the Old Palace in Bekesbourne (near Canterbury) for a tour of the beautiful gardens. The house itself was built in the 18th century by Robert Packham, although in 1552. the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, built a "Palace" here. It was demolished in the Civil War and all that remains is the old gatehouse, now a cottage that adjoins the large house. A more recent claim-to-fame is that Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, stayed here for a time and wrote some of his James Bond work while here.

This is the back of the big house, now called "The Old Palace".  We were shown around the extensive gardens by the current owner who said she does most of the gardening herself! There were nearly a dozen of us, all well impressed with the variety and quality of the plants.

The garden was arranged in a sort of "rooms" set up. Each area had its own delights and each was very different from the others.


In addition to the plants themselves, there was a large pond, complete with fish.


After the tour, we were served a lovely cream tea with homemade scones and strawberry jam.

The whole afternoon was really delightful and I can report that everyone really enjoyed their visit to Bekesbourne.



Monday, 21 March 2016

New Year's Lunch

January 2016: We had our annual New Year's Lunch at the Walpole Bay Hotel in Margate again. As always, the Walpole gives us a fantastic meal and everyone really enjoys it.

We had two coaches for this outing, so we filled the entire restaurant. The service was good, although I don't know how they do it. Managing a group our size is no easy feat! Yet the food arrived on time, hot, and with no complaints from us!





As usual, I forgot to take photos of the starters and main courses, but I did manage to get a couple of the desserts.



We are a chatty bunch and this event was no exception. After such a great meal, however, and of course the all-important glass of wine, we were a little quieter on the coaches going home!

A great day out!