The first meeting of the year is the perfect time to pay our dues, renew memberships and friendships, and welcome newcomers to Birchgrove WI! Membership forms will be available for you to fill in on the evening, but why not get ahead of the curve by printing out your own at home, and bringing it in already completed? A year's membership will set you back just £39, which can be paid in cash or by a cheque made out to Birchgrove WI.
But it's not all paperwork! We'll also be learning a bit about the oldest textile of them all: felt. There'll be no time for woolgathering as we discover the many ways in which it's been made and used across the centuries, and how it's found its way into everything from hats to tents, from pianos to burial shrouds.
Over 45 ladies filled St Andrews Church Hall in January for our first meeting of 2014. Membership soared, we now only have a few spaces left until we declare ourselves full! As the ladies all took their seats and caught up with friends we awaited the arrival of Elisabeth from One Mile Bakery in Pontcanna.
Clare gave us our welcome and a taster of some of the things to come this year both in our own WI and across Glamorgan, then handed us over to Elisabeth who came prepared with loaves of bread and Irish butter!
We were all entertained with her talk to us of how she set about opening a small business, marketing it and some of her plans for the future...and then we tasted the bread!
During our tea and cake we had chance to chat to others about upcoming federation events - a Denman college visit and a Be Inspired talk, and we also promoted our re-branded 2nd Thursday social sub group.
If you are interested in coming along , let us know in advance so we can reserve you a place.
Well summer seems to be over but here at Birchgrove Wi we certainly packed a lot into those few sunny days!
Our August meeting welcomed the local magistrates to talk to us about being a magistrate, the role they play and some of the varied things they have done.
Our summer special event was attended only by the very dedicated few - the walk around the bay was therefore postponed and a meal was enjoyed with members from Cardiff Bay WI.
In the Glamorgan show this year, both Clare and myself gained prizes from several of our entries, including my parsnip cupcakes (2nd prize in the any item including parsnip category!) and a highly commended for Clare's Gooseberry and Elderflower jam! Next year we are aiming for a first!!
I'm in danger of needing a craft room in my house soon if I keep enjoying the fabulous speakers we are having at WI! This month, Angela came along to demonstrate some simple but beautiful felt flowers, and moments later we had scissors, needles and pieces of felt at the ready to handcraft our own!
All colours, shapes and sizes, with and without leaves, were created by the ladies of our WI and it was hard to get everyone out of the building at the end of the evening!
I have put my order in for felt and I am sure im
The first meeting of the new committee has just taken place and we are excited about some of the ideas coming up for the remainder of this year and next.
This week is our Felt Buttonhole / corsage making activity, visitors are still very welcome to attend but this month there will be a charge of £1.50 for materials for non members.
We are planning a 5th Thursday event for August - a gentle summer evening stroll to the Cardiff Bay Barrage, then a drink (or two) in one of the Bay's great bars. This event will be free (buy your own refreshment) so hope to see you all there.
We have also been talking Winter Fair, Christmas Cards
Last Saturday, one of the sunniest we have had in ages, Clare and I went along as observers to the WI National AGM, joined by about 5000 other ladies from across the UK - some as delegates with voting rights but many, like us, just there to support the WI, and hear from the national committees.
As well as the AGM business, adoption of the new consitution, making Anglesey Federation incorporated (a change we still dont fully understand!) and altering some legal wording, we were given an update on finances and the state of the separate businesses of NFWI Enterprises (think the jams and biscuits you see on sale in supermarkets) and Denman College (more of this to come!)
Griff Rhys Jones, John Humphries and Jonathan Willcocks were the guest speakers, entertaining us with stories of town centres across the nation, the challenges of journalism and some singing!
The resolution to preserve the nations high streets was hotly debated, and despite some reservations and concerns mainly over language, was passed by a significant majority and will be the focus of WI pressure and action in the forthcoming year.
The two messages we went away with was 1 - use your local shops as much as you can, help them be relevant and be there in years to come; and 2 - use Denman College, or lose it. With this in mind, Clare and I have booked our return trip to Denman and will certainly be making more use of the Birchgrove and other north Cardiff loc
Well, we made it! We were joined by Carolyn Davies, the Glamorgan Federation Chair, who oversaw the business of the AGM, led by our President, Clare. Clare was re-elected to serve another term and she will be joined by several new committee members to lead the group on into 2014! The meeting voted to approve the national resolution to promote the local high street, and to adopt the new consitution of the national organisation.
We were joined by Flora Lazarou, member of the Lazarou dynasty of hairdressers across Cardiff, who talked to us about how she is trying to promote Birchgrove as a high street destination - a cause that we will certainly become more involved in as the year progresses.
With a glass of fizz on arrival and a birthday cake (made by Clare) with our cup of tea, we were in a
Several months of planning came good last Saturday as our first (and probably bi-annual...watch this space) community fair was opened by local councillor Jayne Cowan and the trade got underway.
Homemade cakes and tea was provided by WI members and offered a welcome refreshment on the lovely sunny day, a tempting raffle with 18 prizes, and 21 different and varied stalls gave the local community a real feel of the range of local produce and crafts on offer.
All the stallholders seemed to be happy, several commenting that it was the best they had done! A good sum of money was raised for the WI funds and the planning will now begin for the November/December Winter Fair!
Thanks to the main coordinators on the day, Clare, Beth and Gemma who along with myself worked hard to get the planning just right; and thanks to all the ladies of the WI who volunteered to either make tea/coffee, sell raffle tickets or run a stall for us - without you all it wouldnt have been a success!
Dancing is really not my thing, and the thought of some belly dancing on a Thursday night after a rough week at work really didn't excite me...how wrong I was!
Dancing is still not my thing, not knowing my left & right causing the first of my two major problems - the second being a lack of rhythm! However, I am, yet again, so glad I went along. I laughed more than I had in weeks, mostly at my own ineptitude, and did begin to see the health related benefits of this style of dance as exercise. The skill level demonstrated by our teacher was fantastic when she performed a solo dance for us all at the end and the chance to take part in such an ancient activity in such as friendly setting was a bonus!
This month, on Maundy Thursday, we were joined by Beth Ford, who led us in some warm up excercises, vocal range warm ups and a selection of singing activities culminating in a rendition of an unaccompanied version of Jerusalem.
Although the Easter break meant we had fewer members this month, everyone left wishing the meeting was longer and having had a thoroughly good sing, in a unpressurised environment. There was no critique of our voices just the enthusiasm of Beth telling us we can all sing and how good it can make us feel - for days afterwards several members really did "feel the benefits" and we are already planning to invite Beth back again to raise our spirits!
I'm Becki - Vice President of the group and willing volunteer to coordinate the website and social networking! Enjoy the Blog!