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!

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Just a little update

I can't believe we've fallen so far behind in our postings for our WI. It's a bit hard when it's a one-person job but I do my best to get others to contribute photos and text. I'll try to catch up now, but don't forget that you can view back issues of our monthly newsletters if you go to our regular website: anytime.

Our annual meeting was in November, where we elected our committee (and added a couple of new members). In December, we had great entertainment from our drama group. They always provide us with a wonderful event and this month they wrote and presented a hilarious panto titled "Cinderella, Sort Of". Here's the summary from our secretary, Pat Morrell:

Cinders lives with her step mother, father  (both who don't have a part but are referred to), and her two sisters Chardonnay and Beaujolais.  Cinders wants to join the WI but the sisters won't let her. They are both awful to her, of course.

The King & Queen want their son the Prince to marry because they are running out of money, i.e. Simon Cowell has bought the royal carriage and they have been reduced to live in Tankerton Castle. The prince only wants a babe for a wife but can't find one suitable. Because he loves cake the royals decide to hold a cake making competition ball inviting all of East Kent's WIs incorporating it with the WI Centenary. Whoever makes the best cake can marry the Prince.

Cinders was at home on the day of the ball, sad because she really wanted to go, when her fairy godmother appears, explains who she is and that she has only been a fairy godmother for a few weeks she was on probation, she left her last job as a traffic Warden in Whitstable because she didn't like the uniform.  Her wand was connected to the world wide web and she gets all her spells from Amazon.  She produced a cake and a dress for Cinders and gets her to the ball, but states she has to be in by 10.30pm.  Cinders asks why because its always 12o'clock in other pantos, but of course this is the WI and we don't stay out late!

The Prince meets Cinders at the ball and likes what he sees but she runs off when Chardonnay and Beaujolais turn up.  He finds her of course and they get married.

And a few photos:

As you can see, our dramas are quite a lot of fun and a great production!

In January, our speaker was Melanie Gibson-Barton, who spoke on Bruges. Unfortunately, we have no photos but everyone has said how much they enjoyed her inspirational "tour" of Bruges.

In February, our speaker was Anthea Bryant, who spoke about Jane Austen. Again, no photos but everyone thoroughly enjoyed the talk.

And in March, David Harper gave us a slide show on "The Silk Road", the ancient network of trade routes beginning in China in about 200 BC, which brought many exotic goods and spices to the West. 

In April, our speaker is Len Howell, who will tell us everything to know about Dover Castle. At each meeting, we have a competition based on a theme, along with a flower competition. 

Our various sub-groups have also been busy: book clubs, garden group, drama group, craft group, and photography. The photography group, known as "Shutterbugs" has met several times to exchange photographs and photography tips, and we're looking forward to getting out and about a bit more when the weather is better. I'm sure the gardening group will soon be making their garden visits as well. And next month (April) is our big quiz night, which is always fun and lots of laughs.

If you're looking for an active, interesting, and friendly group of women, you are most welcome to join us. We meet on the second Wednesday of each month, always at 2pm at All Saints Hall in Whitstable. We've welcomed many new members this year and more are always equally welcome!