By Stephanie Richardson - 4th October 2015 6:08am
Audlem Women's Institute ' October Meeting
Now,I take 'Care in the Community' seriously and so it was that I generously took my older friend Pauline on a cruise with me. Holidays are meant to rejuvenate us, but quite frankly this was one holiday I was lucky to return from unscathed!
Apart from one husband who settled his wife into her room on the ship, promptly
disappeared, only to text her from shore to say he was leaving her, three
accidents due to the uneven cobbles of Rome and Athens and finally two deaths — It's not easy to carry coffins down wobbly gangways to shore- it was all fairly uneventful and I returned from my holidays, with a new zip in my step, looking forward to the October WI meeting.
Settling back into normality with my friendly WI members, June Perry still tickling the ivories to our usual hearty rendering of Jerusalem, our President Lin Nicholas still mastering the complicated art of microphone sound, whilst efficiently updating us on relevant WI issues, including an offer by Anne Watson, renowned for her WI competition wins, to hold a 'soiree' at her home for those members who would like to learn how to make the beautiful Xmas cards that she creates. I put my name down for this as Anne won a bottle of fizz in the raffle so I'm
hoping it will be opened at her meeting!
Lin also thanked my husband for all his help at our iPad training sessions, and also the extra one to one help for those who needed it. I was on holiday, so I'm not sure how well those went! Perhaps I'd better ask him, as some of our members did look more relaxed!
Christine Salisbury reminded our members about the trips to the Moorcroft Factory and Tatton Hall and Doreen Hubbard and Ann Hollins have offered to hold Bridge training sessions. I'm signing up for those as well because Doreen makes excellent cakes! I haven't tasted Ann's, but I'm sure they will be just as good.
Irene Cunliffe spoke on behalf of the Malbank Group, asking if anyone would be interested in becoming treasurer " eye contact was immediately broken by our members who shuffled in their seats", however they all perked up when she spoke about the Carol Service to be held in The Methodist Chapel, Nantwich on 7th December entitled 'Children at Christmas.' If any of our members have any spare new or slightly used toys ' the mind boggles ' please could they bring them to the next meeting so that they can be donated to a Children's Charity.
We are trying to encourage members to take on 'extra curricular activities,' no, it's not what you think, but skydiving, white water rafting, bungee jumping and gliding have all been mentioned so Christine is working on organising those events!!
Finally I settled back to enjoy the talk by Idris Evans on 'Memories of a Bygone Era.'
Now, Idris, who's talk detailed his early life on a remote Welsh hill farm in Llangollen, had gallantly stepped into the breach as our original speaker had cried off due to ill health. However from the moment he stepped forward he held his audience in his hands! It was obvious that over many years as a professional presenter and speaker, he had accumulated a treasure trove of funny, inspiring and insightful public speaking stories and quotes.
From his descriptions of the triple holed wooden outside privy, crudely built over a stream which provided the 'flushing' facility, the usefulness of the Elder tree, planted next to the privy to keep flies away to his explanations of why Welsh people have added names in Wales
Fred the Psychopath meaning Fred who cycles the path- and also why Welshmen are particularly reticent where the ladies are concerned.
The English would say 'Will you marry me?', a Welshman would be likely to say ' Would you like to be buried in the cemetery next to me? Highly unromantic!'
Heads nodded in agreement as Idris described Sundays when you were not allowed to play and had to attend chapel three times in the day, the dreariness of the weekly routine ' Monday lighting the boiler, using the dolly peg and blue cube, washing and mangling. Tuesday drying the clothes on the line for all to see your underwear! Wednesday- polishing the furniture, Thursday- sweeping the floors, Friday ' getting your weekly food supplies and Saturday being allowed to go to the picture house.
He remembered the great hams hanging from the ceiling, being smoked by the tobacco fumes ' no sell by dates then!
He skipped over his time at a boarding school, as it had obviously been a traumatic experience for him, with regular canings, bullying from prefects and other 'unspeakable happenings.' (His words.) Idris kept all of our members in peals of laughter, regularly breaking into songs he had penned and quoting humorous poetry before finally allowing us all to catch our breath after over an hour of fast paced entertainment.
Good humour is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It attracts and keeps friends. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. Surely the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences and Idris has done this and passed it on to us, his audience, with his great capacity for public speaking.
After all, one day our life will flash before our eyes and we need to make sure it's worth watching!
Our President Lin Nicholas gave a vote of thanks, and we all headed for another delicious afternoon tea having worked up quite a thirst after all that laughter!
Finally 'imagine a roll of drums ' the competition results were decided. Christine Jenkins deservedly won with her nomination of her daughter to receive a 'gong.' I came second (again) ' I'm just going to cut and paste this in future ' and Anne Watson came third.
Our October birthday ladies were Nola Fisher, Anne Watson, Pat Jones and Ann Poole who we presented with their bouquet of flowers, once again created by our skilled resident flower arranger Pat Smith. After women, flowers are the loveliest things created on earth so we are
all more than happy to receive them.
Finally the meeting was closed and we all set off home, elated by the inspirational talk and the thought of all those exciting extra curricular activities to come! See you all in November.
Tuesday 18th Feb
Monday 17th Feb
Scout and Guide Hall