Harlow Women's Institute

Member of the Federation of Essex Women's Institutes
Charity Registration Number 228992

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Ghostly Time of Year

The end of October brings All Hallows Eve which still retains some remnants of old traditions, despite the inroads of American culture in the shape of Trick of Treat.  For example, apples - once 'bobbed' for in pails of water or dangled on strings to be eaten without the use of hands - still feature in the list of acceptable 'treats' to ward off 'tricks'.  As the evenings grow darker, we might think of the anonymous prayer asking for protection against "ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night".

Paying homage to the season, the speaker at the October meeting of Harlow WI talked about living with the ghosts of the Tower of London.  As Mr Brian D'Arcy RVM spent many years as a Yeoman Warder at the Tower, who better to tell of the mysterious goings-on of the supernatural beings who inhabit the dark corners of that place, lamenting their untimely ends?  Unfortunately, Mr D'Arcy appears not be believe in ghostly apparitions, and had rational explanations for all reported supernatural occurrences!  He said that a much greater threat was presented by the ravens of the Tower, which could be both destructive and combative.  He has scars to prove it.

His very interesting talk was illustrated with photographs of the various buildings within the Tower and some shots of the interior of particular rooms.  He was thanked by Rene Hoad.

The October competition, to chime with the talk, was for a memento of London.  Surprisingly, there were not many entries for this - perhaps Harlow is too close to the capital for members to feel the need of mementos.  The winner was Hazel Quinn whose entry was a box whose lid featured the traditional eye-catching picture of a London bus with many landmark buildings in the background (pictures below)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Nearly Autumn

The September meeting always feels like the first day back at school for the Autumn term, with members glad to see old friends again after the summer break whilst at the same time a faint sense of melancholy pervades the atmosphere.  However, we hope to keep everyone interested during the increasingly dark days between now and Christmas, with lots of events to look forward to and, above everything else, the hope that we'll be able to start on our plan of building improvements early in the New Year. 

This meeting had a re-arranged schedule as the President, Vice-President and Secretary were all absent for the first part of the afternoon.  They had been attending a meeting on hall management being held at County headquarters at Hatfield Peverel, which didn't close until 1 pm.  Consequently, the remaining committee members had to perform multiple tasks to ensure that the meeting got off to a smooth start.  By bringing forward the talk and making it the first item of the afternoon, the meeting ran as efficiently as ever, with many members saying that they preferred hearing the talk at the beginning - although some thought it seemed a long time before we got to the tea interval!

Mr Brian Billins spoke on Essex Smugglers and held his audience spellbound whilst also managing to make them laugh from time to time.  At the end of his talk, he was thanked by Jean Wright.  He also kindly judged the competition, which was for a miniature bottle (loose connection there with smuggling).  Out of a high number of entries, Angela Keill's bottle was the winner.

When tea finally arrived, it was accompanied by cake - actually a selection of small cakes beautifully decorated to celebrate the centenary of the Essex Federation.  The cakes were the result of a generous donation from the Federation to encourage all the Institutes in Essex to help celebrate one hundred years of the WI in Essex.  We are grateful to them for this gift (picture below). 

After tea, we had the raffle and the distribution of Birthday flowers.  This month there was a bumper crop of flowers - six September birthdays and four from August when we have no meeting.  Pictured below is one of the recipients.
The meeting closed at 4 pm with the singing of the National Anthem.

Forthcoming Events
   Thursday 21 September          Play-reading Group (2-4 pm)
   Friday 29 September              Craft Group (11 am-4 pm)
   Monday afternoons                 Darts and Games
  Tuesday 5 October                  Book Group (2-3.30 pm)
  Wednesday 11 October           WI Meeting (2 pm)
  Thursday 26 October              Cobbin Group Meeting
                                        (1.30 for 2 pm at North Weald)

Donations of small gift parcels for our 'Mystery Gift' stall at the Group Meeting will be greatly appreciated.  Please bring to our meeting on 11 October.  Many thanks. 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Lost Gardens and Biomes

At the July meeting, we were treated to a talk entitled "Cornish Treasures".  In due course, we discovered that the "treasures" were two Cornish gardens - Heligan and the Eden Project.  And what gardens they are!

Our speaker, Robin Carsberg, clearly knows and loves these gardens.  His photographs were delightful and we all enjoyed looking at them.  He talked about Tim Smit, who is connected to both gardens and, in particular, was very largely responsible for enthusing enough people and funders to turn projects from paper dreams into reality.  
After his talk, Robin was thanked by Pat Stone (who admitted she had never visited Cornwall!), and agreed to judge the monthly competition, which was for 'something Cornish'.  This had been widely interpreted and resulted in entries ranging from tea towels to a Cornish pasty and a full 'Cornish Tea'.  Unsurprisingly, the Cornish Tea was awarded the prize!

The next WI event will be the Strawberry Tea on Wednesday 19 July at 2.30 pm.  Tickets, priced at £3.50 are on sale now. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Photos

The Macmillan cheque -

and the old WI photograph (sorry it's in parts but it is a very long photo) -