By Stephanie Richardson - 4th March 2018 6:05am
March brings us International Women's Day — it was originally planned for March 6th, but we ladies needed two days to prepare so it was postponed to March 8th.
An international Men's day was also planned, but as always they all forgot the date.
I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat. To me a successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks that have been thrown at her and I've had a lot of those!
I've also had short bursts of being a lady, but sadly they don't last long, and I've always wanted to be a somebody, but now I realise I should have been more specific as when all my friends were looking for boyfriends I just coveted a multi coloured biro!
Our March WI meeting was a week earlier than International Women's Day and I'd have liked to inform you that we spent the afternoon designing eye catching banners and limbering up ready for our march around Audlem, however due to red weather warnings, the loss of several members falling foul of Audlem's infamous snow covered potholes, an exceedingly cosy Scout and Guide Hall and a distinct lack of enthusiasm, we realised our time would be better spent listening to our speakers and devouring our afternoon tea.
Marching could come later — when the local hostelries had opened — I live in hope.
This may come as a great surprise to some of you, but just occasionally a mobile phone goes off in our meetings and this can cause some consternation as it is a well known fact that you should always call a lady twice, once to give her time to rummage around in the depths of her handbag to find it, and secondly so she finally finds the time to answer it.
Actually make that three times, as we still have to ask our neighbours which button to press! We'll get the hang of technology eventually..............
Causualties, new president, new member
Sadly for those present, I once again had to take the meeting, and I was not in the best frame of mind as some contemptible scoundrel had stolen the cork to my lunch!
This was followed by the fact that there were only three members of our committee in full health — the others had succumbed to a broken wrist, a bad toe, fingers cut whilst cleaning the dishwasher (!) and a bad back — one had even flown to Australia — the lengths some people will go to avoid putting out the tables and chairs!
Thank goodness Lin Nicholas has agreed to be our new President, she will be a moderating influence on my regular rants!
Also, we pass on our grateful thanks to Ann Poole who has agreed to be co-opted onto our committee — she appeared to be fit, so she'll be able to help me arrange the hall equipment!
Aside from the odd racy calendar, the Women's Institute has an abiding image of polite ladies united in a common cause, happy to make jam and sing Jerusalem, but if more people joined the WI, there'd be half the need for hallucinogenic drugs, although I do wonder about some of the medication our members take.
One of the things I love about our meetings is the way we greet each other like long lost friends, having previously met in the local butcher's, Co-op or William's that very morning.
These short term memory blanks have to be addressed when protocol demands a reminder that the door they entered is also the fire exit!
Guest Speakers Kiwi adventure
Finally the highlight of our meeting — our speakers were Mike Hines and Hazel Rowlands who were going to talk about their tour of New Zealand.
There's a very go-to kind of attitude in New Zealand that stems from that psyche of being quite isolated and not being able to rely on the rest of the world's infrastructure, so if the people of New Zealand want to be part of our world, I believe they should hop off their islands, and push them a bit closer!
Mike received an unexpected phone call, as the proud owner of a Lagonda, asking if he would like to take part in the Bentley and Lagonda Tour of New Zealand 2017 which takes place every 4 years.
Without hesitation he said yes, paid his money and before he knew it Bentley had arranged for his precious car to be transported to New Zealand.
All he needed now was a companion!
We swiftly discovered that this was not only a tour talk, but a love story!
For the more cynical of us, we view love as like a tornado. It picks you up off your feet and sometimes takes half your house! I've scanned the details on my marriage certificate, but sadly there is no expiry date!
Whilst sharing our afternoon tea Mike told me that he had advertised and interviewed seven or eight women to share the journey with him, in a platonic way, and out of the blue a friend suggested this lady named Hazel whom he thought might be interested.
After consulting her daughters, who quite rightly encouraged her to take this opportunity, Hazel took the plunge and agreed to go with Mike as they appeared to get on well....the rest is now history!
For Mike and Hazel, their relationship grew unexpectedly. Isn't it amazing how a person who was once a stranger can suddenly, without warning, mean the entire world to you?
With a group of like minded classic car owners, they travelled both Islands, starting in Christchurch and finishing in Auckland and along the way visited Bluff, the most southerly point, Cape Reinga, the northernmost part of the North Island, and most points in between!
Four nights were spent in Napier for the world-famous Art Deco weekend with the tour cars being one of the main features, combined with appropriate period costumes.They travelled main roads and back roads at the breakneck speed of up to 25 miles an hour and stayed in five star accommodation.
It was a unique adventure which has left them with a lifetime of memories.
This goes to prove that the best relationships begin unexpectedly because love finds you when you least expect it. It catches you completely off guard and you find yourself feeling shocked, surprised but at the same time, stupidly happy.
That's enough of the mush now, I'll just dab the tears from my eyes.
Poetry and a raffle mishap
Our resident poet, Jessica Trudghill, proudly showed us a copy of her published poetry book. The poems describe her journey through life and all the profits will be going to charity. We are very proud and honoured to have such a talented lady as a member.
After another scrumptious tea — thank you June Perry, Margaret Lockwood and Pat Jones — I announced that the raffle would take place, however due to the enthralling entertainment of our speakers, we had forgotten to tear up the raffle tickets and so I diverted attention away from this little mishap and, with the help of Jackie Creber, handed out beautiful flower bouquets to our birthday ladies.
The winners of our monthly competition were Christine Salisbury, Jackie Creber and Helen Dunlop.
Finally, and with a huge sigh of relief, I handed over the President's badge to Lin Nicholas.
Thank you so much Lin for stepping up and taking on the Presidency — you'll make a far better President than Trump — thank goodness you're not on Twitter!
Monday 1st Jun
Sunday 31st May
Scout & Guide Hall