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It happens every so often in the best organised institutes. Jerusalem has been sung, the record of the last meeting has been confirmed, members are deciding who will be in the county quiz team and the secretary looks round in vain for the guest speaker. As the agenda proceeds inexorably towards its end the awful truth dawns. The speaker has not turned up!
Our President, Sarah Lunt, never ducks a challenge. She looks round the room and sees WI member, Shirley Mountcastle and, moments later, Shirley is entertaining us all with stories of her Liverpool childhood after the war.
Readers of the books of Helen Forrester about her early life in Liverpool in the 30's will be familiar with many of the landmarks that Shirley recalls. This is the Liverpool of tight knit families and communities, red brick houses in narrow streets leading down to the docks. There is still poverty – when Shirley had to go to hospital for check ups her mother could not afford the fare to go with her – but, as Shirley explains, they did not know they were poor.
In those days of her early childhood there was no television to show the increasingly affluent world beyond the Mersey. Children did not face a barrage of advertising. People did not know what they did not have.
September's competition was an arrangement of vegetables from the garden. The winner was Liz Gentil with a creative display which included mange tout and chillies making a "face" on a squash. Elaine Walton, in her first year of vegetable growing, came second with a more traditional display. The winner was decided by placing small change by the one members thought deserved to win. The proceeds will go to the ACWW project in Sri Lanka which the Cheshire Federation are sponsoring.
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