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AudlemW.I.Garden Party

4th August 2019 @ 6:06am – by Stephanie Richardson
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The Outdoor/ Indoor WI Garden Party

Sometimes I shock myself with the funny stuff I can say or do and at other times I try to get out of my car with my seat belt still on! I have also been known to look for my phone whilst I'm talking on it. However life's like that I've discovered, it's not always a bed of roses where we have to keep an eye out for the pricks and, not to brag, I also don't need alcohol to make some really bad decisions. However the moments that make life worth living are when things are at their worst and we can still find a way to laugh.................

And so it came to pass that our WI Garden Party, the highlight of Audlem's summer social scene, was swiftly relocated from the the congenial garden of Joyce Clydesdale to the Scout and Guide Hall due to – yes, you've guessed it – possible torrential rain.

Personally I'm an outdoorsy type as I like drinking on my patio, but we had to take into consideration the huge outlay of money our members spend getting their hair done, nails painted, eyebrows plucked, new frocks and botox to say nothing about the therapy costs required after they fail to gain maximum points in our quizzes! We are a sisterhood, who, like fat thighs, stick together when the need arises.

Having been forced to change our plans, we considered hiring the local Overwater Wheelyboat Service for an informative cruise around the predicted rain sodden village streets, however this idea was soon abandoned due to the boat's weight restrictions and the fact that the sight of several immaculately turned out WI ladies may have distracted the boat's captain as he manoeuvred around – we didn't want to end upside down in an ADAS flower arrangement!

Our committee members arrived early to 'set up' the hall. WI members have great design expectations but every time we try to lower the bar just a little some of the more agile ones still manage to roll under it so high standards must be maintained!

Tables were set with freshly laundered tablecloths, delicate flower arrangements, serviettes and bone china plates, and then, true to form, the sun came out.

I believe there's a technical term for a sunny warm day which follows two rainy days, it's called Monday! Quite frankly weather forecasters may as well flip a coin – at least that way they can be 50% right.

Now food involves everything and everyone. It is one of the few elements left in the world that can bond people instantly and although personally I won't be impressed by technology until it can download my dinner requirements, there are those amongst us who still believe a messy kitchen is a sign of happiness and so those poor selfless WI souls who still maintain this belief beavered away in the kitchen preparing cream scones, cutting up sandwiches and dividing luscious home made cakes into equal portions ( God forbid if anyone got a larger piece ) whilst I took on the heavy weight of responsibility opening the Prosecco bottles to check they were OK. They had been languishing in Joyce's garage for several weeks so I had to count that none were missing – Joyce entertains a lot – and then tasting was a necessary evil to ensure it was up to scratch!

My friends and family know that I only have a kitchen because it came with the house and the few people who have eaten in my kitchen have all still managed to lead normal, healthy lives – just.

Also on display were our Nantwich Show entries. Some of our members have such amazing talents, and Lyn Wainwright had won a prize for her black and white photographic entry, so we felt suitably proud of her, but all of the entries were such a high standard and potentially worthy winners.

At 13.45 our excited members drifted in, they always arrive early to ensure they get the best seats and life long friendships can be broken at this stage should anyone fail to save a seat for their friend. Prosecco was handed out by Joy Taylor, carefully balancing drinks on a tray and looking elegant in her starched pinny – she would have made a great Lyons Tea House waitress – whilst the proffered food and quiz papers were dutifully inspected.

Margaret Wells has a unique quality – tenacity! She is our raffle ticket seller extraordinaire, a tiny self contained power house with eagle eyes. If anyone dares to avoid buying a ticket, Margaret will be on their case as she can sniff out those who have failed to cross her palm with money at thirty paces – you have all been warned!

Our President Lin Nicholas, now a fully paid up master of the microphone, opened the proceedings by welcoming all and explaining how the afternoon would pan out. Not everyone was listening though as there was a bit of a feeding frenzy going on in the background because most of us had missed out on our lunch and we all know we can't lead a full life on an empty stomach!

Also it's a well known fact that the more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap so we were taking no chances, as we were all attired with our best expensive bling and looking rather fabulous, so easy targets.

Once our members had been fed and watered, they turned their attention to the quizzes set before them – 'Ding Bats', 'Cakes' and 'Recognising Famous Women'. We take these quizzes seriously as there are prizes to be won and nobody wants to look like a loser.

Our members believe in being open minded, but not so open minded that our brains fall out. It's a delicate balance that most of us have mastered, that is unless we have had several drinks and then things can go downhill very fast!

Joyce and I had set the quizzes, so we could sit back smugly in the full knowledge that we knew the answers, even if we didn't understand them!

Joyce had also bought along a card game so our ladies could play the TV quiz 'Higher or Lower.' This proved very popular and some of our ladies kept returning for another go. It must have been the lure of winning a Kit Kat as chocolate is an aphrodisiac and we were too tired for anything else!

Once the tables were cleared, the answers to the quizzes were given out – I think I heard several groans, it was almost like being at one of Ralph's Tuesday Quizzes – but on the whole everyone appeared happy, besides, nobody likes a sore loser.

Anne Poole is a fabulous cook and baker, there's no getting around this as we all drool at the mere sight of some of her baking exploits! She had baked two fabulous cakes which we refused to offer to our members as they were worthy of the British Bake Off crown, so we auctioned them off because we like to make money at others expense.

A strong bidding war ensued, the gauntlet was thrown down and the highest bidders were Liz Huntbach and myself!

So, if you turn up at my house and are offered the rare opportunity of a slice of homemade coffee cake – I've lied! ( not for the first time. )

This month's Birthday flowers were handed out to Anne Pearson and Pat Smith and a special orchid was presented to Jackie Creber who arranges all the birthday flowers so beautifully. We felt it was maybe a step too far to expect her to arrange her own bouquet!

The raffle was drawn and Lin wished all of our ladies a safe journey home whilst the rest of the committee rolled up their sleeves and commenced the grand clear up. Personally I am fully aware that both of us can't look good at the same time, it's either me or the kitchen.

If we are ever in a situation where I am 'the voice of reason', then we are in a very bad way!

Top Tips:

I've been told on good authority that when you lose socks in your tumble drier, they will be recycled as a Tupperware lid that doesn't fit any of your containers. I have many lids that prove this.

Thought for today:

Have you ever considered that one of the mysteries of life is why the kamikaze pilots wore helmets?

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