Monday, 7 March 2016

Winter catch-up - what we did in January and February...

We tried something a little bit different, for us, in January. We decided to get jolly well serious about this year's proposed resolutions. (Ooh ominous!) To explain, the deadline was looming to vote on the resolutions going forward to this year's NFWI AGM, and it's only the 3rd time we've had to go through this process since we started. In previous years we've simply read through the resolutions, and then had a bit of a quick informal group chat before polling our members. That has worked for us... but we've also had the feeling that we've not really been that well informed when we've voted. So this year we've decided to discuss the heck out of the resolutions (well, as much as one meeting will allow) and see how that works out for us.

And so 8 plucky volunteers stepped forward to give a talk on each resolution to the group gathered at our January meeting, before further group discussion and voting. First impressions from our new approach to the resolutions? 1. It took a surprisingly long time! There was a very long list this year, and each potential campaign issue had a mountain of background material to be mined... Even so, we probably only touched the surface of the issues and still took at least 2 hours to get through the process of presenting and discussing, then choosing. 2. But it definitely seemed like a worthwhile effort. So much goes into the resolutions process throughout the whole organisation on a national level, that it seems crazy to vote without properly considering all the options! FYI, the resolution that received the most votes in our WI was for equal funding for mental health care in the NHS, and we wait with bated breath to see which resolution gets the nod for June's AGM in Brighton.

After lunch, Angie Goddard, Archivist for Girl Guiding England joined us for a talk on the history of the movement in this, their Centenary year. Many of our members have been Girl Guides, so the talk triggered a lot of fond nostalgia. A big thank you to Angie for being such a warm, engaging guest.

And we still weren't done... even then. The marathon January meeting was concluded with a lovely, relaxing decoupage workshop, which was of course delivered by our very talented and hard working Jayne - eeh, we get our money's worth from that lass! (What do you mean you're not paid Jayne? You get as many biscuits as you want don't you?!) If you've never heard of decoupage it's basically cutting and sticking for adults, but hopefully with prettier results than I see when I pick my kids up from Craft Club every Tuesday evening. The idea was to take something useful (for instance, a storage box or some other household item) and make it exceedingly beautiful by applying decorative papers with a magical paste called Hodge Podge. Roll the picture gallery...

And then January rolled into February, bringing us right bang up to date. Thanks to our love of doing a workshop activity that has an obvious / or sometimes very tenuous :-) link to the month of the meeting... we decided that it was only fitting to honour the month of the Chinese New Year with some Tai Chi. Lucy of Lishi Tai Chi in Leeds joined us and gave us a really exemplary talk on Lishi, the particular form of Tai Chi that she practises, and its origins and strong history in Leeds, followed by an amazingly graceful and impressive demonstration. We then joined in for an active workshop, and we loved Lucy (and her daughter!) for her amazing energy and commitment - she gave us so much time and was so generous and enlightening. Thank you Lucy for the opportunity to learn a little bit about connecting with our chi - something that's a little bit mysterious and unknown for us uninitiated Westerners, but we could definitely feel the force!

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