December 2017


December was our Christmas party evening and the ladies and several gentlemen arrived in their party attire ready for some fun and were greeted with a smile and a glass of sherry kindly donated by the wine club, the sherry not the smile. The hall and tables had been beautifully decorated by the committee members and with Christmas lights and bright chatter the evening was soon in full throw .A greeting and welcome from our President Gill Bird and then the excellent food was served by the cheerful catering staff. Our music was provided by a glamorous lady called Blossom who sang a mixture of blues and jazz accompanied by Steve on his guitar ,you could almost believe you were in a sophisticated restaurant somewhere ,well almost. Towards the end of the evening yours truly made an entrance dressed in nurses uniform and cap pushing a trolley of instruments and other goodies .The reason for this was to perform some health and safety checks on the audience , to provide necessary medication and support for those with health problems to prepare them for what was to follow. Once they had demonstrated some muscle strength and an ability to perform C.P.R. to the tune of Staying alive it was considered safe to proceed to the next part of the evening when to the accompaniment of Blossom singing Hey Big Spender our own our very own Lorraine dressed to kill and moving with amazing agility sashayed seductively around the floor shaking and shimmying with considerable skill. There was a great deal of laughter at our little party piece for which we were grateful and the evening gradually drew to a close and I hope a good time was had by all.
As usual January blew in cold and wet but there was still a good turnout of members and after the routine business and presentation of birthday posies, and thanks to our hostesses the members settled down to hear our own Dorothy Readman give a talk on the Jam Factory that ran during the war years in Stradbroke. This was a war effort instigated under the auspices of the Ministry of Food but which was run by the Stradbroke W.I. A fine lady called Mrs Biddle wife of the local vicar was the President at this time and, as the excellent organiser that she was, instigated the start up of the jam factory in The Hay Barn in 1941. Fruit and sugar were purchased under the control of government licence and the ladies of Stradbroke set to and made their jam and later chutney which was sold locally at a fixed price . A great effort on behalf of the whole community providing workers ,storage space ,oil stoves and all that was needed for this enterprise ,we should be very proud of them all. Dorothy has researched this subject and written some of the history and details in a small book so if you would like to know just ask her I am sure she will be happy to answer your questions. Following the talk refreshments were served and naturally with jam as the evenings subject we served scones with jam and cream , absolutely scrummy . Our thanks to Dorothy for all her hard work in preparing this most interesting talk it was greatly enjoyed by all.
Our next meeting will be on February 8th when Sharron Jarvis will present Singing for health. Do come and join us you will be most welcome. 
Wishing you all a happy healthy 2018 Prue Rush


November 2017

This was our annual meeting when the years’ work and efforts are reported on and discussed by the members. This has been a busy and successful year with great speakers and 4 new fully fledged members. We thank them for choosing our W.I and welcome them to our ranks and hope they will be happy active members. Our treasurer gave a full financial report and was pleased to announce that all is well and healthy with our monies and that we have had a successful year with our fundraising. Gill our president gave a general report on our activities which have been many and varied and thanked the committee for all their efforts on behalf of the members. A special thank you went to Vivienne Goffee for all her work and help behind the scenes as she regularly wields her marigolds and gentle humour to aid the frontline workers and for this she was presented with a silver cup to clean for the next year, umm to the workers comes more work methinks. Two members from Fressingfield W.I. Christine and Mary came to assist us as tellers for the official business of electing a new committee and Lady President and they were welcomed and thanked by Gill and presented with posies as a mark of our appreciation for their efforts. The business commenced and the old but not ancient committee was re-elected to continue with their efforts and after further voting Gill was re-elected as our Lady President. Good luck to everyone and thank you for carrying on.
The activity for the rest of the evening was organised by committee member Patricia and this was a silent auction where many articles all of which had been donated by members were divided into
small groups with comic titles and quiz questions to match the contents, all great fun with the ladies scratching their heads over some of the questions mixed in with the odd whoop as some groups realised they knew a tricky answer and were excited at their brilliance. Bids were placed on the groups of items and the last bid was the winning bid. With refreshments being served the evening continued until it was time to close the proceedings with Gwyneth announcing that we had raised just short of £100 over the evening. The ladies with the winning bids collected their goodies the evening closed with thanks and goodbyes as the members left anticipating the next meeting which will be the Christmas party meal with some homemade entertainment, so watch this space for the next report. As the next meeting is for current members and partners we look forward to seeing new interested ladies at our January meeting. Meanwhile if anyone would like more help or information about us just give me a call Prue Rush 01379586468

October 2017

There was a definite buzz in the air as members and many visitors gathered to join our open meeting with our speaker Paul Yaxley owner of the Fox and Goose restaurant in Fressingfield who was to give a cooking demonstration for our edification. The evening started in good time as we sped through the routine business and presented birthday posies to seven of our members all of whom were able to join us in their birthday month. Our visitors and members then settled in for a splendid evening of culinary expertise.
Paul was introduced and explained that he would demonstrate how to produce a three course meal in somewhat limited circumstances. As the evening progressed he showed us simple ways of doing preparation and cooking and how to present simple food in such a way as to look professional and artistic. His beetroot mousse was so easy with the quick baking of the beetroot in foil, much less messy and easier to peel and the preparation and cooking of the pork , sealing it carefully before roasting it lightly was delightfully straight forward. This was complimented by a butternut squash mousse all of which looked and smelt scrumptious. This was all topped by the production of a wickedly chocolate creamy tart some of which we were all able to taste test at the end of the evening ,oh my it was special. Throughout the evening there were opportunities to question Paul who happily and wittily gave us the tips that we craved even on how to use a knife correctly and how to test the tenderness of the meat ,all good and useful help. The evening flew by and with a bit of Blue Peter work of here is one I made earlier to help with the restricted timing the evening concluded with more questions followed by refreshments and a sample of the chocolate tart . A vote of thanks from Jennifer heartily endorsed by all and the members and visitors went happily on their way licking their chocolatey lips.
Our next meeting is on November the 9th our annual meeting and with a silent auction to ease our way to Christmas. All very welcome as visitors or possible new members


September 2017

The meeting opened with the usual offices presented by Gill and Jane ,birthday posies were handed to Dorothy ,Carol B and Mary Stones . Mary was unable to join us but her posy would be delivered to her. Thanks were offered up to our hostesses Iris and Sue for the lovely flowers and their preparation and dispensing of refreshments all much appreciated. Gill also announced that the Circle Dancing group are celebrating their 10th anniversary and to mark the occasion Dorothy the ring or circle leader of this group was presented with a bouquet of flowers for all her hard work. Next Gwyneth our treasurer put to the ladies the suggestion that to save the rummaging for plain white sheets to use as table covers each time we have a slightly more upmarket meeting and the even bigger scrummage at the end of said meeting to find the correct home for the sheets, that perhaps we could purchase sufficient sheets and solve the problem. Prices and numbers agreed Gwyneth will go ahead with this purchase with our thanks . A little bonus in the form of gift aid returns helped this decision forward.

The activity for the evening was a demonstration in felt making and the creation of felt poppies. Thanks to Patricia Woodward our own committee member we launched into a fascinating craft session. Armed with raw wool of different colours, bowls of water , sheets of bubble wrap, rolling pins, sushi mats and some soapy solution the ladies set to in making coloured felt and turning it into poppies. Now an outsider may have been forgiven if they thought that they had stumbled on a slightly odd cookery lesson or a playschool session for grownups ,such was the noise and splashing not to mention the banging and very vigorous rubbing followed by loud giggles and gulps as the odd set of dentures came slightly askew with all the effort put into the felting process .Refreshments were taken halfway through the session as a surprising amount of physical effort was required but then back into the fray and Patricia demonstrated how to complete the shaping by pushing the damp felt circles into egg box sections and allowing them to dry and hold their petal like shape , most impressive. A great session and our thanks to Patricia.

We were reminded that there is to be a group meeting at Mendham and Withersdale on the 26thSeptember when an ex policewoman will give a talk and demonstration on self defence .Last but not least our next meeting at Stradbroke will be at 7.30 pm on October 12th when we will be pleased to great Paul Yaxley from the Fox and Goose who will be giving us a cookery demonstration .This will be an open meeting so please come and join us on the night ,all are welcome. All good wishes  Prue

July & August 2017

July seems a long chilly time ago and our meeting a distant memory. Actually it was a straightforward evening of business followed by an interesting talk from a lady called Denise Billinghurst who told us of her time in Africa where she frequently travelled . The main purpose of her visits was to assist at a lion orphanage where rescued lion cubs were raised and helped back into the wild on a safe reserve . We were treated to some fascinating photos of lion cubs at various stages of their care and rehabilitation and, surprisingly, photos of Denise up close and personal with some oversized pussycats. Denise was obviously an enthusiast and had also embroiled her husband in her fund raising and visits to Africa. An interesting lady and a pleasant evening for us all.
Now we are in August and that means our summer supper organised and served by the committee. The members played their part by turning up in their summery finery ready for a special evening and happily partook of a splendid glass of Pimms or fruit drink to get the party going. Before we got down to the serious business of having fun Moira Gibling put forward her suggestion for a resolution to be sent to headquarters for consideration. This resolution says that the W.I. consider the ritual slaughter of animals without being stunned for religious purposes is barbaric and inhumane and totally unacceptable in this country. The resolution says this practice should be banned and urges the government to act urgently. Moira spoke eloquently on this most unpleasant of subjects and a vote at the end was unanimous in agreement with her proposition and that it should go forward to headquarters. Business over we moved on to serving up a delicious summer salad buffet to our members who were all in great form as they took their food back to beautifully decorated tables for a good chat and satisfying supper . All went well and we moved on to the entertainment . Now hold on to your hats folks as I tell you that we gathered in teams for a tournament of tiddlywinks , yes that’s right tiddlywinks and it was so much fun and there was so much laughter that the rest of the evening disappeared in a flash. The raffle was called and thanks were expressed to the committee and to Wendy and her marigolds plus others who swept in and washed up as if they had done this for years which of course they have. A great evening and we all left feeling good.
Our next meeting is on 14th September when Patricia Woodward will be doing a craft demonstration titled “Poppies” ,do come and try us out.
Prue Rush

June 2017

This was an open meeting and so we whipped through the usual offices, thanks to the hostesses for the beautiful flowers and presentation of birthday posies and then we sat back for an evening of song and laughter. Picture the scene the room was full of members and visitors plus two brave chaps who had been persuaded to join the fun and in floats this lovely vision in a beautiful scarlet dress and a wide smile welcoming us to an evening of song poetry and chat, well we were all set for a magical evening. Rachel Duffield introduced herself and explained her interest as an historian, in the life and times of Marie Lloyd and songs of the past. The first half of the evening was to be songs of the seven ages of woman with songs that matched the different ages starting with a glorious rendition of somewhere over the rainbow and as we were duly invited to do so we joined in shyly at first but with gusto by the end. Rachel talked about music in childhood and took us all back to the days of junior school when we were obliged to do music and movement to the radio in the assembly hall . This was supported by an hilarious performance of a song written by Victoria Wood about a little boy who plainly did not enjoy soppy stuff like this and great gusts of laughter echoed around as we watched Rachel become this reluctant small boy, marvellous .Next we heard from the musical ‘Witches’ which involved a schoolgirl giving advice on how to be Popular, the title of the song, then moved directly to an older girl singing I just can’t say no from Oaklahoma , um every mothers nightmare. A poem about how we view our bodies and the changes or differences that just have to be accepted by all of us had us listening and nodding in agreement , relevant to us all at some point. Joyce Grenfell represented our older years and a wonderfully funny performance of an older lady who is singing in church and suddenly realises that she can’t remember if she has turned the gas off under a saucepan and mixes her anxieties of the consequences with the hymn ,a rapid amen and a dash for home , we loved it.
Refreshments were served at the tables and then we settled in for the second half. Rachel returned in costume as Marie Lloyd and gave us a brief history of the times and fashions of the era and of how a young Marie used to stand on the tables at various pubs and sing for pennies to help support her large family. We heard about the difference between draws and bloomers and the type of female who would wear the bloomers with the gap or the draws with the draw string and no gap, who knew? Marie gave her first music hall appearance in the Eagle at the age of 15 and was rocketed to fame from there. The song The boy I love is up in the gallery , was performed with plenty of audience participation and the chap a waving of his handkerchief was roundly applauded for his efforts. During another song the other gentleman was subject to a little flirting which brought a huge smile to his face and laughter to the audience ,all good fun. We were taken through the life of Marie which was never dull but sometimes difficult as she in turn shocked and thrilled her audience with her songs and behaviour , nothing new there. The evening moved on with traditional music hall songs and recitations all beautifully performed by Rachel and thoroughly enjoyed by us all and the story of Marie Lloyd concluded as we heard about her comeback performance to aid recruiting for the war in 1914 when she collapsed and died on stage at the age of 50, she died as she lived so much in the public eye.
Dorothy gave a heartfelt vote of thanks to Rachel for such an excellent evenings’ entertainment roundly supported by us all, it was so much fun. Our next meeting will be on July 12th when Denise Billinghurst will give a talk called Walking with Lions, do come and join us you will be most welcome. Prue Rush

May 2017

The meeting opened with the usual offices and notices where Gill thanked our hostesses Dorothy and Jenny for their beautiful flowers and the hoped for refreshments. Birthday posies were presented to Wendy Reeves and in her absence a posy was collected on behalf of Carol Philpott. Our thanks were also offered to Dorothy, Vivienne and Sue for their work in collecting sorting and delivering our magazine to us , thank you ladies. As it was the resolutions meeting our next task was to discuss and vote on the two resolutions which were To alleviate loneliness and to take action to clear the plastic soup that is filling our oceans. The actual wording of the resolutions was more precise . The members voted to support these resolutions and so we moved on to the evenings’ entertainment.

Charmaine Cooper a young member of our W.I . talked to us about her love of music and how she has been involved with music all of her life . Her family are musical and number music teachers among them, her mother and grandmother .We heard how at the age of 12years she realised that she had potential and would be able to forge her future around music and set to to do just that. This may sound a bit dry but I must tell you that her stories were interspersed with hilarious anecdotes and beautiful musical interludes to demonstrate her progress through her education and training to become a music teacher to young people. We were treated to some of her early favourite pieces and on to exam pieces by composers with unpronounceable names but amazing talent. The evening flew by with an enthralled audience who were captivated by her piano playing and her expertise on the flute. Apparently it is not a good idea to change your haircut just before performing on the flute as it appears a mouthful of uncontrolled new hairstyle can cause havoc with the playing of said flute. We had a wonderful evening and eagerly await the next instalmentthank you so much Charmaine.

Our next meeting is an open meeting on June 8 th at 7.30pm when we will be treated to the songs of Marie Lloyd by Rachel Duffield who will be in character. Visitors will be asked to pay £4 for an evenings’ entertainment with refreshments so please come along and join us. Tickets available from Gill Bird, June Hampson and Jane Gemmill .


April 2017

We were all delighted and relieved, at our April meeting, to see Gill firmly back in the chair after her illness. Business was swiftly dealt with. The members who had represented Stradbroke at the March quiz night, were congratulated on coming a respectable 7th. The evening’s hostesses, Roz and Jane Merritt were thanked, and the delightful birthday posies given out. Food bank donations were left for collection, and delivery to the depot.
Next we welcomed Ben Garland, our speaker for the evening. Several of our members know Ben, as he, until recently, was part of the Framlingham Veterinary Practise, and had treated many of our dogs, cats and other pets. He has been very much missed since leaving a few months ago. He began by telling us about his road to graduation from The Royal Veterinary College in London, just over two years ago. The RVC is one of the largest veterinary schools in the country, with an annual intake of 250 students, roughly 100 applicants competing for each place. After he graduated, Ben applied for a place to study for his CAVP, (Certificate of Advanced Veterinary Practise), but wasn’t accepted. He was, however, offered an internship at Framlingham Vets, and spent two years there before moving to a practise in Bury St. Edmunds. This, like Framlingham, is a private organisation, but very much larger, with four practises employing twenty one vets. Ben spoke about the contrast between being at Veterinary school and working as a vet. At first, the huge responsibility, challenges and emotional stress were almost overwhelming. He explained that a vet will carry out up to thirty consultations a day, up to eight operations, many routine x-rays and scans and dentistry work, plus being on call for up to three full nights a week. A consultation for a vet requires assessing information from the owner, plus that gleaned from assessing the animal, and often coping with what he called “Doctor Google”. Although he sometimes finds it helpful to have well informed owners, it isn’t always the case. I’m sure that a few of us would have felt just a little shamefaced hearing this; a little knowledge can be an annoying thing! Our GPs would no doubt agree. Ben listed, what he called, “the good bits”, puppies and kittens(!), the team work, great outcomes and making a difference. On the down side are bad outcomes, euthanasia, stress and non-cooperative clients. I presume the latter could mean pets or their owners. There is no space to mention all the interesting facts that we learnt during the talk, but it is maybe worth mentioning the strangest thing that Ben has ever removed from an animal. It was a toy windmill, measuring 46cm, which had been swallowed by a 4 month old Labrador. It reached from the dog’s throat to the base of the stomach and had to be removed through an incision made in the neck. The little boy who owned the windmill, who had been furious that the puppy had swallowed his and not his brother’s, was most upset that it wasn’t returned in working order. At the end of his talk, Dorothy took her Springer Spaniel Bonnie up for a demonstration of how to carry out an examination. Poor Bonnie had been patiently waiting under a table for the whole evening, but complied with good grace and was rewarded with lots of attention at the end of the evening. Carrie gave the vote of thanks, and then Caroline gave us a short description of her four days at Denman on a course of Water Colour and Mixed Media, which she found very enjoyable, but a little tiring. Refreshments were then served and the raffle drawn. Our next meeting will be Resolutions and musical entertainment on the 18th May.

Carol Darling

March 2017

The March meeting was chaired by Carol Darling, our vice president, as our president Gill Bird was a little under the weather , hope you are much better now Gill, and was ably assisted as usual by Jane our secretary. All business and notices were dealt with and the birthday buttonholes distributed .The hostesses Jennifer and Annie were thanked for their efforts and we moved on to a report about the S.E.F.W.I. A.G.M. held at Trinity Park in Ipswich on 7th March. This was a good day out for a small group of us and we were treated to some excellent speakers who kept us awake in a rather warm hall. Thank you to Dorothy for taking notes and presenting our report. There were reminders about the Quiz night on March 27th and the group meeting at Withersdale and Mendham village hall on April 23rd when Duncan Slater will be talking about his adventures with Walking with the Wounded.
Next we welcomed our speaker Professor Valerie Pomeroy who specialises in neurorehabilitation, a long word which means she helps people who have suffered any kind of brain injury to retrain their injured brain to regain as much use and bodily function as possible after an injury which has caused loss of normal functions. It has to be said that such a talk raised mixed emotions in our members as most of us have had some experience with friends or relatives who have suffered such injury ,mainly from having a stroke, but we were all soon at ease with her positive and practical approach to the subject. As this talk was of interest to so many, husbands partners and friends were invited to join the meeting and they joined in with the activities and Q and A session during the evening. Valerie explained that since the advent of M.R.I scans that were able to identify which parts of the brain were active during specific functions such as speech ,moving a limb, answering a question etc , it had helped to understand what problems would be created when specific areas of the brain became damaged , and how to set about the rehabilitation of the patient. We were told that our brains are not solid but have a plasticity that helps them to ‘rewire’ and use other parts of the brain to perform lost functions and improve connectivity. A great part of the evening was to help us feel and understand how a stroke victim might struggle while trying to retrain their brain. An attempt to draw in a given space using only a mirror to view the drawing caused laughter and frustration in equal measure , our hands did not obey us even though we knew what was needed to perform the action, feeling inside a bag with our eyes closed and wearing rubber gloves trying to identify objects in the bag and wearing spectacles with half shades on one side to demonstrate half vision loss was also rather bizarre. The general message was that rehabilitation was not easy but required long hard work over a long time but that with the greater understanding that scientists now have of how the brain works and which areas are involved there is so much more hope and positivity for some degree of recovery and retraining. The message is still to eat healthily exercise daily, don’t drink too much and don’t smoke and don’t ignore warning signs of possible troubles, but now there is the added message of hope and positivity for improvement in the outcome for stroke and brain injured people. Our thanks to Prof Pomeroy for a fascinating and encouraging talk we wish her well in her research and endeavours ,also our thanks to Pat Fill who stood up and gave testimony to the truth of all we were hearing in that she herself has made an impressive recovery from a stroke ,thank you Pat. Amidst much chatter we turned to the refreshment table for a well earned cuppa and biscuit and many discussions about the things we had heard continued well into the rest of the evening.
Our next meeting is on April 13th at 7.30 pm when Ben Garland will talk to us about being a vet, all are welcome to pay us a visit
Prue Rush

February 2017 

Our February meeting took place on a cold and miserable evening, but that didn’t daunt the lively group that assembled in the Community Centre, the hall was positively buzzing. 
Once Gill have given her opening address, she welcomed Joy Ayres, who had joined the W.I. that evening. Warm welcomes were also extended to our visitors Vicki Batley, Abbie Clements and Linda Sedgewick. 
To support the National Federation’s ‘Show the Love’ on Valentine’s Day, hearts of green felt were given to members, and Gwyneth asked that they decorate them, and wear them on February 14th to show their support and bring awareness to climate change. Gill thanked Jane J. and Vera our hostesses for the evening, and thanked them for their lovely flowers, which were truly a touch of Spring. The birthday posies of golden tulips and freesias, were presented to Carrie, Lorraine and Yvonne. 
Members were informed that the Spring Federation Quiz was to be held here in Stradbroke on March 27th at 7.30pm. Volunteering to represent us in the quiz are Jennifer, Betty, June, Carol. Rose and Joyce still to be contacted.
A new Kurling Group has now been formed and will play fortnightly, commencing on the 14th February.
Something to really look forward to is the proposed visit to ‘The Suffolk Punch Trust’ in May. More information will be available at our next meeting.
Gill then had the pleasure of welcoming our speaker for the evening David Ecclestone, who ironically had on this cold and bleak evening come to share his knowledge with us of ‘The Hudson River School of Art.’ A movement which was formed in America in 1825, by artists known for their paintings of landscapes and particularly of ‘Paintings of American Snow’. With such a cold subject, we might have expected to shiver, but David’s sheer enthusiasm, warmth and extensive knowledge of his subject ensured that we were absorbed and made to feel at times as if we were in the amazing snowy pictures that were portrayed on the screen. Annie gave a warm and appreciative vote of thanks on behalf of the members.
After a break for refreshments Gill gave details of another ‘Silent Auction’ being planned for later in the year. This was followed by a reminder of our next meeting when we welcome Professor Valerie Pomeroy talking about ‘Stroke Recovery’. As Gill pointed out a stroke could affect anyone of us at any time, irrespective of age, so coming along to the meeting on March 9th at 7.30pm could be advantages to us all. As always visitors are very welcome.

The meeting was then closed.

January 2017

Here we are at the start of a new year and ready to jump in to the fray and have some fun .Last year ended with an excellent Christmas dinner in lovely surroundings beautifully decorated by the committee, excellent food and great entertainment, of the musical variety, organised by Charmaine who was most impressive with her virtuoso performance and a quirky quiz, thank you Charmaine .Our January meeting started with greetings and welcome from Gill and the hope for an interesting new season of events. Thanks and apologies were given the business and notices dealt with ,birthday buttonholes eventually delivered to their owners, one was late the other unwell and with the L plates removed from the officers after a years’ probation we launched into the evenings activities. This was to be a social evening with extra tea and coffee and some lovely cakes to enjoy. For the livelier members there was a session of kurling to join in with and many members did just that showing great skill in some cases and even greater enthusiasm in others. There was much laughter and a generally relaxed and sociable evening passed well. There is hope that if enough folks are keen then a fortnightly session of kurling at the community centre can be organised . The evening was completed with the draw for the raffle and the ladies went on their way looking forward to an interesting year of events.

The next meeting will be on February 9th at the community centre 7 for 7.30 when there will be a talk by David Ecclestone titled ‘ Painting American Snow’ and about the Hudson River school of art, new members and visitors are always welcome so please join us.

Prue Rush