Thursday, 13 November 2014

30th August - Wine, cheese, birds and Molly...

Debbie with the purveyors of wine and cheese (angels)
Hello people. Well, here we are - six weeks to go until Christmas, and it's been a little while since the last update in the Summer! We've had three meetings since then, at the end of August, September and October (we had July off). I apologise in advance for the fact that this might get a bit unwieldy. It is three meetings we're talking about after all... So, deep breath, I will try to get us all through this in one piece.

After our Summer break, we were ready to jump back into things at the August meeting - not to mention the fact that the promise of plentiful wine and cheese is a very big pull! Once our meeting agenda had been done and dusted and we'd attacked the lunch table, our first two speakers could begin.

First we were joined by the indomitable Molly Hughes, a veteran WI member who spent many years on the West Yorkshire Federation Board of Trustees and also served as the representative for the Associated Country Women of the World - a role which took Molly all around the world and gave her a wealth of knowledge on women's issues. We first came into contact with Molly at the Resolutions Conference in April, when she was drafted in at the last minute to speak about the campaign against female genital mutilation - after a no-show by the booked speaker! Molly gave us the background on the issue that we needed, and clearly cared very much and really impressed us with her knowledge and passion. Which is why we asked her to come and speak to our group on the very same subject. It is a very difficult and distressing issue to hear about, but we did want to know more as a group and were disappointed when this campaign didn't get through the NFWI resolution process. Molly did a really wonderful job (thank you Molly), and we hope to bump into her on the 'WI circuit' again before too long.

Molly holds court
Our second speaker was Linda Jenkinson, bird watcher par excellence. I tell you, what that woman doesn't know about birds isn't worth knowing (I should say I've picked up that comment from Sarah Glynn, who automatically states this whenever Linda's name is mentioned. Sarah is one of Linda's students so she should know!) Linda gave us a fantastic introduction to the addictive pastime of bird watching, complete with many cute pictures of little feathered friends - lots of oohs and aahs all round. Thank you Linda!

Get birding with Linda
And finally, the wine and cheese appeared - hurrah! Val Berry and her team from Hayley & Clifford Delicatessen on Street Lane joined us once again this year. Val gave us the history and tasting notes on six carefully selected cheeses, specially chosen to complement our wines. And that's where Helen from Majestic Wines came in, with lots of lovely bouteilles du vin. We did actually manage to keep things classy this year though, no fear. The artful presentation of the wine and food by Helen and Val slowed down our consumption, and actually allowed us to appreciate the produce - unlike our self-service approach last year where we did all pile into the wine table really, as fun as that was! It was all delicious, and we all had fun discovering new tastes. A big thank you to the Hayley & Clifford team and Helen from Majestic Wines.

The anticipation builds...
Yes, it's working

Next time... Jam and Jerusalem mehndi.

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