Middlesex News for October 2021 is out.
Click here to read the PDF newsletter.
Middlesex News for October 2021 is out.
Click here to read the PDF newsletter.
Once again time has whizzed by and I have no idea where it went, what I did or what I am about to do. I thought I had left life in the fast lane when I left the City of London many moons ago… clearly not this past month!
Sadly, I would have been in my bolt hole ‘office’ in Corfu at the time of writing this, but I was not comfortable with travelling to and from as we are still shielding family members and if anyone knows Greek airports, during the summer, they are not mainly used by those who like to follow rules. I hope however that some of you managed to get a break of some sort to re-charge your batteries.
Having said we are busy, please do communicate with us. As a team we are here to help, clarify your queries and we do still appreciate snail mail if anyone is unable to use email. Some of you may be surprised, but I still use a fountain pen! I do hear murmurs from the WI chatter at times of discontent, happiness, confusion but I rarely get correspondence or discussion to back it up—it is so much easier if we were made aware of things as we can’t know what we don’t know, and needless to say, we cannot fix or clarify anything we know nothing of.
I do hope you are all as well as can be expected and you are able to get out and about a little more than you have been doing. Talking of wellness, I have had my regular breast screening done: please do take up your appointments if and when offered.
WI Day came and went and to be honest as we did not have our planned afternoon tea, it seemed very quiet on the MFWI front. I hope you all managed to mark the day in one way or another. Hayes Town did add a splash of colour—to be featured in the November newsletter. We will try and book another date for Afternoon Tea for early December so watch this space.
We have had some observers at our Board of Trustees meetings, more details to come, however we still have capacity for others to join us. All you have to do is get in touch to show your interest. Same applies if anyone is interested in being a WI Adviser or maybe joining our sub committees such as Public Affairs or Craft: more hands make light work, as we all know. Contact email@example.com to register your interest.
Our MFWI ACM March 2022 date is not that far away. It is our Centenary meeting (finally!) and we are asking all members to take part in the poll attached to the email in which this newsletter is sent. For those who do not have access to email, please feel free to telephone or post your views
Bring your craft projects and chat, or just come and chat about crafts.
First Thursday of the month, 13:00
7 October, 4 November, 2 December
Meeting ID: 879 0513 1326; Passcode: 405027
A weekly craft get-together on a Monday, hosted by members of the MFWI Craft Committee. Bring along your unfinished objects (UFOs) or your current project to craft and chat, maybe bring along a glass, cup or mug of something…
Every Monday evening, 19:30
Meeting ID: 845 2969 7238; Passcode: 829648
October is a massive month for WI birthdays in Middlesex Federation.
Happy birthday to all these WIs!
We want to know how your WI is celebrating in 2021
Please share with us!
HA 01 October 2012
Stow Roses 02 October 2013
Ashford Evening 03 October 1984
The Alexandra 05 October 2010
Stone Rangers 08 October 2014
Greenefielde 09 October 1956
Hanwell 09 October 2013
Bedfont Belles 10 October 2014
Shoreditch Sisters 11 October 2007
Hampton 11 October 2011
West Hampstead 13 October 2011
West Drayton 14 October 1919
Halliford 16 October 1922
Pinner 16 October 1968
Laleham 22 October 1935
N1 24 October 2006
Manor Farm 27 October 1972
Twickenham 27 October 1988
Congratulations to the winners of our August 2021 200+ Club draw!
Mary Jeffery, Stanwell
2nd prize – £20
Pat Darius, Manor Farm
3rd prize – £15
Jill Bonar, Southbourne
Good luck to everyone who has submitted an application for the coming year’s 200+ Club!
The NFWI Public Affairs team has been working in the All-Party Parliamentary Group to discuss potential policy solutions regarding microplastics.
They have had round table discussions with washing machine manufacturers, textile industries, academics, industry and retail representatives and environmental organisations to produce a six policy recommendation intended to stem the tide of microplastic fibre release into our waters.
This will be published soon and findings will be presented to Parliament ministers for discussion. It will be available on the Wi website for members to read after publication.
In the meantime I think we members need to do all we can to ‘stem the tide’. In the Spring of 2020 (lockdown), I discovered the EcoEgg detergent alternative. Apparently it has been around for years! I saw it as a ‘special buy’ in Aldi, and have been using it ever since. It was supposed to last up to fifty washes, but I went on using it well afterwards with good results.
I recently bought a refill pack of pellets from Amazon, as I haven’t seen the EcoEgg on sale anywhere else. I have found it to be super-efficient for most washing situations, though I still have to use stain remover products for stubborn marks.
The plastic egg has holes in it and is filled (half full) with mineral pellets. These activate once wet and roll around inside the egg to create a natural detergent that permeates the washing. It is very economical, as well as eco-friendly.
The initial pack with including the egg cost me under £5, however, the refill pellets cost the same from Amazon, who were selling the whole package for £10—prices ever going up!
If we can save that energy use as well as stemming the tide against pollution from microplastics, I think it’s worth it!
We’d love to know about other innovative ‘eco’ products you’ve tested, from bamboo toothbrushes to beeswax jar covers and shampoo alternatives. Maybe you shared idea within your WIs for Big Green Week?
Please let us know!
So… no more going out and here we were determined to carry on. Reading was however something we could all do.
Our problem was that not everyone either could or would Zoom.
We did have most members in a WhatsApp group but the decision was to try a ‘round the table’ email session (bring your own drinks!!).
The idea would be to write up your review and then on the day cut and paste in turn. The ‘host’ chose the running order based on who said they would join in and it was our normal Monday evening at 7.30pm once a month. Sometimes the reviews were very slow to appear but we waited and one could read them all and then free to comment at the end. We always give marks out of 10; sometimes a book is harrowing and yet still deserves a mark of 8.
We kept this up over the many weary lockdown months. Christmas 2020 we held a joint ‘phone-in’ which cheered us all up and surprisingly easy as we could recognise each others voices well and were very polite and did not interrupt each other too much!
Then, at last, we could meet in the pub garden and we were noisy enough to drown out the football tellies because it was so good to see each other again. This photo is our second outdoor meet. Our club is 12 to 17 folk who come along whenever they can and some send their written review if they cannot be there, and so we go from strength to strength.
Oh what a joy to meet in person and see other members of the group!
At long last we were able to have our monthly meeting as a physical meeting. Zoom has been wonderful to keep us in touch but there’s nothing like a face to face meeting. Over 30 met in the park and took advantage of the gorgeous sunny evening to chat.
Smiling faces were testament to what it meant to be together. We were able to see friends and meet some of our new members.
It’s a plethora of riches as we’re also now able to meet in Fordbridge Centre on a Thursday morning for craft, book club, coffee and board games sessions.
Friendship Day was celebrated by leaving small gifts around the town to be collected by the lucky finders. A member’s grandson enjoyed helping to place the gifts.
Now that we are getting back together Deborah will no longer be writing the newsletter that has kept us entertained and sane through the difficult days of Covid. Our heartfelt thanks go to her for those 200 letters.
The tablecloth embroidered by members was displayed in the Cow Byre exhibition of Middlesex crafts and was worth a visit.
Our August meeting is traditionally our Tea Party, and this year was no exception. The branch signed up for the Breast Cancer Now campaign and members enjoyed a great evening out while supporting this great cause .
As well as enjoying a lavish display of sandwiches, cakes and prosecco, £205 was raised for the campaign with members playing bingo , Games of Scones and Guess the name of the Teddy Bear with some lovely prizes.
A presentation was given by Joan Horton on Lawmakers, Breakers and Enforcers for our June meeting– a history of how our legal system evolved into today’s Parliamentary Democracy and independent judiciary, and how miscreants offended, were caught and dealt with.
Women’s involvement gradually increased in the 20th century, with the vote, and the introduction of women police, MPs magistrates and judges.
Today, the Supreme Court is headed by Lady Hale, Dame Cressida Dick is the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and there have been two female Prime Ministers.
However, offenders haven’t really changed much over the centuries—only adapted to life in their times. For example, petty thieves have always targeted untraceable and easy to sell items: textiles pre 20th century were extremely expensive and an easy target as one sheet or tablecloth from a washing line looked much another.
In more recent times it was radios, then TVs, then videos, then PCs, and now it’s laptops and mobile phones. What next one wonders? The talk ended with some anecdotes from Joan’s 34 years as a local JP including some hilarious cases of indecent exposure. Joan found that although cases could make her cross, upset or exasperated, the hardest thing had always been to maintain a deadpan face and not laugh at the sheer stupidity so often portrayed.
For our July meeting, a presentation was given by Joan Horton on DNA—an explanation of how it makes us who we are, the history of its discovery, and the main uses to which the knowledge is put today: fighting crime, inventing new medical treatments, and tracing our family history.
As a qualified nurse, Joan had always had an interest in DNA’s role in hereditary conditions, especially as much of the research and its discovery was done at King’s College Hospital, where she trained. During her 34 years as a JP, DNA had been introduced as a crime detection tool and is now indispensable.
One of her main hobbies is family history, in which DNA is also becoming a significant tool in discovering one’s forbears, and relatives one didn’t know one had. Except for identical twins, we are all genetically unique, however only 1% of our DNA accounts for humanity’s differences.
We share DNA with every living being, and the talk concluded with the information that we share 50% of our DNA with a cabbage!
In August we had John Thirkettle on Adventures and Experiences.
John gave an amusing account of his childhood during the war and his call-up for National Service a few years later. By then he was part way through an engineering apprenticeship, which his father asked he be allowed to complete. Ultimately he joined the RAF, where his National Service stretched into a full career. Various strange and funny encounters with local during postings to Germany, Cyprus, and Egypt were related, and after leaving the RAF John continued to work and travel widely.
We were all in fits over his tale of attending a large and long-winded Japanese convention. He sneaked out of the hall, but later, being unable to read the signs couldn’t find his way back. On opening the door into what he thought was the hall, he found himself gate-crashing a wedding, where guests came up talking to him in Japanese. They introduced him to everyone as is the custom if a stranger walks in, so it took some time. Then on returning to his convention they wanted to know what took him so long… an interesting talk!
Images from Iver: A beautiful cushion cover crafted by Pat Gravette and azalea and clematis from Margaret Smith’s garden.