OUR October meeting was well attended.

The speaker was Tony Weston who gave a fascinating talk entitled “The secrets of the box”.

He replaced our original speaker, who had tested positive for covid, and was thanked.

Our president was in hospital and the members present signed a get well card for her.

The vice-president was also unable to attend, so the meeting was taken by Hazel, a committee member.

Refreshments were provided by Catherine and Julia and we thank them.

Birthdays being celebrated in the month were Rowena, Christine and Valerie.

All the helpers at the Caversham Court Gardens tea kiosk were thanked.

The Christmas lunch date has been changed to December 14.

Members were reminded about the jigsaws available to borrow.

Knitted bags were needed by the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Jill was going to take them in.

Chazey WI meets on the first Friday of the month at St Andrew’s Church hall in Caversham from 2.30pm.

Carol Briscoe


ON Saturday, October 1, we had a stall at the Great Big Green Day in Goring village hall, where we showed what the WI has done to help protect the environment over the years.

The stall was well received by attendees and we also provided the thirsty participants and visitors with tea and cake.

At our meeting on October 12, following a rousing rendition of the witches songs in Macbeth, we all attacked some innocent pumpkins in order to produce Halloween lanterns.

There were some very inventive ones, incluging a Gauloise-smoking Frenchman with a beret, a chapel, a cottage and a range of scary faces.

In November we will be having a very interesting talk on the Diamond Light Source, the national synchrotron, at Harwell Science and Innovation Campus.

It works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that scientists can use to study anything from fossils to jet engines, viruses to vaccines.

Cleeve-by-Goring WI meets at Storton Lodge, Icknield Way, Goring, at 7.30pm on the second Wednesday of each month. New members are always welcome. Just turn up on the night.

Katrina Cooper


MEMBERS enjoyed a fascinating gallop through the history of royal nuptials.

“Royal weddings — what could possibly go wrong?” Rather a lot was the answer from our speaker Catherine Simpson.

Traditionally, royal marriages were made for alliances, pedigree, wealthy dowries and socio-economic and political gain.

Unfortunately, until recent history, there was no understanding of genetics, so cousins in all the royal houses frequently got married.

The result was haemophilia passed down from Queen Victoria’s female line and the disfigurement of the long-chinned Habsburgs.

Many betrothals were made when the prospective bride was a child and there were even marriages to young girls.

The custom was that the marriage was only consummated when the bride was mature but this was not always the case.

Queen Anne tried to make sure that there were suitable marriages within the royal family, hence we had the Royal Succession Act, meaning that no member of the royal family could marry a Catholic.

The Royal Marriages Act in the reign of George III stipulated that prospective marriages had to have the permission of the monarch.

He was fed up of his many sons having fruitful liaisons with commoners, especially actresses. He wanted legitimate heirs. In recent years this act has been relaxed.

There have been royal marriages where the fiancée or bride has been passed on to the next son in line to the throne.

Catherine of Aragon was married to Prince Arthur for a few months but upon his death she was spliced to the future Henry VIII.

Queen Mary, the wife of George V, was originally engaged to his late brother the Duke of Clarence.

Who to marry? Before the Reformation marriages could be made throughout Europe. Afterwards only brides and grooms from northern Protestant Europe were deemed suitable, so many were from the German states.

It was common for the spouses not to know one another before their marriage. One bride, who spoke no English, was so terrified as her mother-in-law walked her down the aisle of Westminster Abbey that she threw up not only on the aisle but also over her mother-in-law.

The most notorious match was between the cash-strapped Prince Regent, later George IV, who would get more money if he married, and Caroline of Brunswick. The Prince described his bride as being short, ugly, with no style, gauche, gossipy, smelly and indiscreet.

The marriage did take place but he managed to lock her out of his coronation. She was very popular with the masses as they loathed George.

Apparently, she would flash her garters and knickers at admirers on The Mall.

The most popular wedding venues are Westminster Abbey, the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace and St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

One king had to marry at a partially-roofed York Minster in the snow. Edward III had fallen out with Archbishop of Canterbury, who refused to marry him.

Other marriages have taken place in St Paul’s Cathedral and Reading Abbey. The tradition of the placing of the bride’s bouquet on the tomb of the unknown warrior first began with Mary, the Princess Royal.

There are always two bouquets for a royal wedding after one bride forgot hers. To be on the safe side there is a spare at the abbey.

We saw many photographs of royal marriages, from Victorian times to the present day. There was much discussion as to who was who. Our next meeting will be at Crazies Hill village hall on November 16 at 2.30pm when the speaker’s subject will be “My life of crime — reflections of a former crown prosecutor”. All are welcome.

Sheila Brockelbank


FOR the first time we changed our meeting time and day, so that we all met on a Friday at 10.30am. Our speaker was Karen Wheeler, from the Henley and District Housing Trust.

The trust was born out of a 1928 study circle in Henley, where the members were unanimous that good housing was essential for Henley residents who were struggling.

At a 1929 public meeting at Henley town hall, it was decided to found a housing society for those unable to buy a house. By 1933, 28 houses had been built and occupied. Initially all houses were built in Henley but in the Forties four 17th century houses were donated and two modern cottages were built on a plot of land now known as Pear Tree Cottages (named after a field near the church of St Nicholas) in Rotherfield Greys.

Over the years more houses were built with money provided by many generous benefactors. Of course, old cottages and many houses need refurbishment and this continues to this day. For example, in 2000, listed cottages in New Street, Henley, were brought up to date.

Now the trust owns 75 much-needed homes in and around Henley. In February, two new properties in Rotherfield Greys were completed and Sir Hugo Brunner and Tristan Phillimore presented the keys to the new tenants.

Understandably, the demand for these houses is very high but the trust continues to help as much as it can.

We found all this to be very interesting and there were many questions.

After our meeting we decamped to the Maltsters Arms pub, just down the road, and all enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Merryl Roberts


THERE was a good attendance of members at the October meeting to hear Irene Manson’s talk entitled “One, two, buckle my shoe”.

Irene had brought a vast array of shoes and she started by showing a beautiful pair of gold embroidered wedding shoes and then, in absolute contrast, some Doc Martens boots.

Of course, we had to see some red shoes, evoking the memory of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and also some red kinky boots.

We all remember flip-flops but we now have fit-flops, which should be kinder to our feet.

Irene mentioned the Portuguese cork which is used for soles and she showed pictures of knitted rope shoes and esparto sandals.

Some of the current famous names came up in conversation, namely Louboutin, Blahnik, L K Bennett and Birkenstock.

Sadly, Irene did not have all of these to show us so we finished on a low note talking about Billy Connolly and wellie wanging.

Suzanna thanked Irene for her amusing and interesting talk and then conducted the business part of the meeting.

Members had enjoyed a visit to see behind the scenes at the Mill at Sonning theatre.

The walk in October was organised by Gwen Wilding.

The next outing is scheduled for January 4 to hear the history of White Waltham Airfield.

Ann Downing has arranged a visit to Wallingford Museum followed by lunch on February 17.

Other ideas in the pipeline are visits to Swindon by train and to Welford Park at snowdrop time.

The next monthly meeting is lunch at Henley Golf Club on November 9 (12 noon for 12.30pm).

We will be back in Harpsden village hall on December 14 when the Harmony Singers will entertain us with Christmas music.

The competition will be for a Christmas tree decoration. Those members who wish to do so can take part in the Secret Santa.

There will also be an opportunity to donate toiletries of any description for needy families in the area, to be distributed by the d:two centre in Henley.

Let us hope that members are as generous as they were last year when we had several large boxfuls for distribution.

The meeting will commence at 2.30pm. A warm welcome is given to visitors so do come if you wish to find out more about the WI.

Judith Young


UNFORTUNATELY, the speaker at our evening meeting in October had to cancel, which was disappointing.

So we had to have a quick rethink and plan our meeting with a last-minute quiz and craft.

Our members were asked to come along with their nimble fingers and glasses.

It was a chance to create more poppies for remembrance week in a choice of mediums.

A big thank you to Lady Sew and Sew for providing some lovely red felt and black wool, which enabled us to rustle up a selection of flowers and also our keen crochete and knitters to create more poppies.

As always, there was delicious home-baked cakes and lots of chatting but also a surprising amount of crafting too.

Sharing scissors and ideas and talking politics, new babies and Christmas plans — what’s not to love about the WI?

Alison, our secretary, provided a very good quiz, which tested even the keen quizzers who had joined in with the Henley Cricket Club quiz night the previous week.

Aside from the usual meeting we had a lovely teatime with the Beechwood Group, a collaboration with our local branches. There’s no stopping HoT WI.

In preparation for our rescheduled talk by Berkshire Women’s Aid, we have received a list of what they are low on in terms of donations in the run-up to Christmas.

They are willing to take donations on the night so do think about coming along to our next meeting at Sacred Heart parish hall on November 18.

Nicola Taylor


IT was an extremely dull, wet day on October 5 when we had a programmed activity afternoon of flower- arranging in the church centre.

Tables were set up and everything prepared, foliage of many types spread out for all to share.

We waited and then suddenly members arrived, hurrying through the doors bearing armfuls of flowers, unfazed by the weather, just pleased to be together.

Our president welcomed Chris Parmenter who gave a demonstration and showed us how to create a lovely trug of glorious blooms.

Then it was our turn with baskets and dishes of every size. Happy chatter filled the air as we snipped away using roses, gerberas, chrysanthemums, dahlias, asters and many other varieties.

Members’ hidden talents became obvious. Over mugs of tea or coffee with delicious biscuits we surveyed our handiwork and made a kaleidoscopic arrangement on a circular table.

We all agreed it had been a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and we thanked Chris effusively for her help and guidance.

By now the rain had stopped and we left under sunny skies.

Our next meeting was to be on November 2 with another activity afternoon discovering log cabin patchwork.

Sue Drew


WE were grateful to Gaye Illsley, from LPA Made Simple, for her insightful talk on the subject of lasting power of attorney and for explaining the importance of considering this vital issue.

She covered details that we need to be aware of and it was useful for someone to speak to us directly.

For the future we appreciate that Heidi Snookes-Owen, our local podiatrist, has kindly agreed to speak to us about her specialism and for us another important topic.

Please join us at our next meeting at Peppard War Memorial Hall on Wednesday, November 9 at 2pm. Visitors are most welcome.

Elaine Douglas


JUDY PALMER, our vice-president was in the chair for the October meeting.

Only 13 members were present as many were on holiday or had succumbed to covid.

Members were delighted to hear that Wendy Robinson has joined our WI.

Judy took us through matters arising from the minutes.

After the report and discussion on WI House at Mortimer at September’s meeting, it was decided to send a small donation with a covering letter towards the cost of re-roofing the building.

The book club had met at Francis’s house and discussed The Henna Artist, which had been much appreciated by all. The Ambassador’s Daughter was chosen as our next read.

At next month’s meeting we will have a fish and chip lunch in the hall and then play games.

Our Christmas lunch will be at the Hennerton Golf Club in Wargrave on Thursday, December 15.

The WI scrapbook, which was entered for a competition and inadvertently mislaid, has now turned up with a glowing critique by one of the judges.

An invitation had been received from Knowl Hill WI to their Christmas sale on Saturday, November 12 from noon to 3pm.

On November 26 members are invited to a walk around Mortimer village and then have a light lunch at WI House.

Irene Parker had kindly made up all members’ contributions into bags as welcome packs for the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, 50 in all.

They were so well received and the hospital was delighted that many WI groups donated bags.

Our December meeting will be a Christmas bring and buy sale with a singer to entertain us.

We then heard from Brian Graham, an interesting man who had worked at Broadmoor for 25 years.

He took us through how to make candles and gave us all the wherewithal — beeswax and wicks and even wet wipes so that neither the tables nor our hands got sticky. It was fun and members were so quiet as they were concentrating.

Brian had brought many candles, both scented and in various designs.

We then enjoyed a delicious tea provided by Jen Terry and Margaret Spratley. After a lot of chat and Yvonne winning the raffle, all went home happy.

Sheila Constantinidi


WE all arrived for our Harvest lunch with tickets at the ready.

Our president Arlene welcomed everyone present and told us that we would hold the official meeting after the food.

The sandwiches and cakes were beautifully prepared and displayed and we all tucked in with much delight.

We then had a cup of tea and much chatter until it was time for the meeting.

Arlene said that unfortunately our secretary (Ryszarda) was unable to attend due to illness but that a record of the September meeting was available for all to see. She then gave cards to those members with October birthdays.

During October the book club met at Barbara Wood’s house and the cinema group to see two films, Ticket To Paradise and Mrs Harris Goes To Paris and everyone enjoyed them both.

Ladies that Lunch visited the Moderation pub in Caversham.

We then had a talk from Wendy Robinson, who is a WI advisor.

She mainly spoke about the need for more members to come forward to be on the committee because our president and secretary will both be standing down in March and without these two officers the branch would have to close.

This would be a shame as it reaches its 60th birthday next year.

Finally, the raffle was drawn before Arlene closed the meeting, saying that our next one would be at St Barnabas parish hall, Emmer Green, on November 2.

Jean Hewitt


BEFORE the start of the meeting members gathered outside to plant the platinum jubilee tree, a rowan.

The ladies took turns to each put in a spadeful of compost. President Sue Lines opened the meeting, welcoming two prospective new members.

She thanked the staff at Toad Hall garden centre in Henley who had been so helpful with advice on the purchase of the tree.

A recipe book is being compiled by Chris Bickerton and she asked for contributions of family recipes.

Members were reminded that the Christmas lunch would be at Badgemore Park on Monday, December 12 and also given the dates of upcoming outings.

Joan Jolley gave an update on the poppy postbox topper. The base has been crocheted by Helen Robinson and ladies have knitted the poppies with Rickie Knights crocheting the black centres.

Susan Partridge has requested photos from members of events to be included in the scrapbook.

Rosemary Appleby will lay a wreath at the village war memorial on behalf of Shiplake WI on Sunday, November 13 at noon. The Beechwood group meeting was hosted by Shiplake WI and Sue thanked everyone who had helped make it a success.

Sue then introduced our speaker, Jane Sampson, who spoke about “Star City and space travel”.

Jane won a competition 20 years ago to train with cosmonauts at the Yuri Gagarin Centre in Star City, Moscow, and to experience weightlessness.

The trainees were taken into a plane which was stripped bare except for mattresses on the floor.

During the flight the plane did various manouvres which caused parabolas until eventually the passengers were floating around.

Jane showed a video which explained the whole experience.

It was interesting to see that one of the passengers was a very young Elon Musk. It was a fascinating talk which we all enjoyed.

After tea, the meeting concluded with the results of the various competitions.

Our next meeting will be at Shiplake Memorial Hall on November 16 at 2.30pm. Visitors are always welcome.

Jean Buckett


THIRTY-NINE members met on October 15 at Kidmore End Memorial Hall.

Our vice-presidents Jo and Jane gave everyone a warm welcome.

Gill gave a report on the cookery course that she had attended at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School after winning the Sonning Common WI bursary back in 2020, just before the covid-19 pandemic began.

She had spent the day with one of Blanc’s staff learning how to make four dishes, which she ate during the course of the day.

Gill said that by the end of the day she was elated, exhausted, full to the brim and felt incredibly privileged to have spent the day with a brilliant chef who had learnt his skills from the famous French chef.

Sue gave a report on the recent willow weaving course that eight members of the craft group had attended where they made bird feeders.

Everyone had an enjoyable and fun day learning the skill with the help of a tutor.

Carol introduced our speaker Joyce Meader, who gave a talk entitled “The history of knitting 1800-1945”.

Joyce is an expert in historical and military knitting, reproducing items for museums, films and military re-enactors from her extensive collection of commercially printed patterns from 1817 to the present day.

She had brought along some patterns for us to look at.

Joyce’s talk was humorous as well as informative and she was continually passing round knitted items worn by men, women and children, including knitted underwear, swimming costumes, jumpers, jackets and dresses.

The competition for a knitted item was won by Marilyn.

The flower of the month competition was won by Sue Hedges.

Carol Townhill


OUR October meeting was very well attended to hear children’s author Debi Evans give a most amusing and entertaining talk about her inspirations to write.

We were introduced to her dog Rolo, the subject and inspiration of her books about a time-travelling dog that had the most amazing adventures in some of the most famous periods in

Afterwards many of us bought signed copies of Debi’s books, a pleasant start to Christmas shopping for our families.

Some of our members also attended the meeting via Zoom and we are happy to report that at this meeting our members agreed to buy a dedicated laptop, webcam and speaker so that we can continue to use Zoom at all our monthly meetings to enable those who cannot attend the village hall in person to join the meeting virtually.

The summer has seemed so long this year that it has barely ended before Christmas preparations are upon us.

Our WI, along with others in the area, has been asked by the National Trust to make felt gingerbread men to hang in the kitchen of Greys Court as part of the Christmas decoration of the house.

We had many volunteers, including members of our craft group who spent their October meeting working on some lovely colourfully decorated characters.

In December our craft group will be making Christmas decorations.

In November we will hear from Richard Cullen who will talk about “One war, two women and nursing”.

Also planned for the coming months are combined walking and dining events, theatre trips, coffee and chat sessions on Zoom as well as our regular activities of craft and book club.

Why don’t you come along and try one of our meetings? You would be most welcome to visit us.

For more information, call our secretary Pam on (01491) 681723 or email her at srwisecretary@

Denise Stanworth


OUR president Dawn Matthews welcomed members and our speaker Jeff Rozelaar, whose talk was entitled “Bagels and bacon — second helpings”.

This was a very relaxed talk on Jewish life in the East End of London, a selection of very amusing yarns, one running into another, of life, often seen through the eyes of children playing on bomb sites after the Second World War.

As Jeff talked of his childhood, it brought back our own memories of that time. His talk was very warmly received by all of us and Maggie Bruce gave him a knowledgeable thanks on our behalf.

Our next meeting will be a craft afternoon when we will help make the decorations for our Christmas tree at the church festival.

December’s meeting will be a Christmas celebration.

In January we will have Richard Cullen speaking on “Five men and women from the Great War”. If you would like more information or to come and met us, please call Dawn Matthews on (01491) 612023.

Dawn Matthews


FOLLOWING our “bring a friend” meeting in September we are pleased to say that three guests again attended our latest get-together.

In the absence of the president and secretary due to illness, no formal business was undertaken. However, Sandra Atack co-ordinated the meeting. She gave feedback on the recent visit to the Textile Museum.

She confirmed that Jill Green had attended the speaker selection event on our behalf and would report back to the programme committee.

A knit and natter group was formed, to meet at Sandra’s on February 7. Everyone was invited to go along, whether keen to knit or not. Nattering is good for you! Future gatherings of that group would be formulated thereafter. Bookings for the Christmas lunch at the Highwayman were opened to allow members and guests to book their choice of meal.

This will be available at November’s meeting too.

The main event of the morning was a floral demonstration by Alison Broadbridge using flowers and autumn hedgerow colours to produce some regular and some individual displays.

Thanks to Alison for an excellent morning’s education and entertainment. The raffle prizes were from her demonstration. Frances won the flower of the month competition.

The next meeting will be on November 15 when we will have a talk by Kate Bettison on her life as a film extra.

For more information, please call Frances on 0118 984 2162.


ANN LARDEN welcomed the members to our Harvest meeting and Patricia Solomons sent all her best wishes.

The tables were set with autumn decorations and we celebrated with a bring and share lunch, which was lovely after the covid restrictions of the previous years.

We collected food for the local food bank.

The lunch was followed by a quiz from Ann.

Celebrating birthdays were Sally Lambert, Barbara George and Kathy Brewer while Connie Vickery had a very special birthday and was presented with a pot of flowering winter flowers and a card from the members.

Thank you to all the members who contributed to our morning at the coffee shop with cakes, help and tombola prizes and everyone who came and supported us.

The lunch group this month is going to the Four Points at Aldworth.

Several members will be going to make Christmas wreaths at the Five a Day Charity in December.

In December we will have Christmas entertainment by Sun Jester.

Our Christmas lunch will take place at Root 1 and will provide an opportunity to find those last-minute presents.

We meet on the third Wednesday of the month in the village hall at 2.30pm. Come and join us.

Judy Williams


By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *