‘WI Talk’ by Sheila Goldsworthy

Former CFWI Chairman and current Assistant Media Officer Sheila Goldsworthy writes a wonderful monthly WI column for The Cornishman. Here is Sheila’s November column:

“A hearty laugh is good for us”. This, amongst other plausible items of advice, has been covered by the media in recent days. We are reminded that laughing is good for our health especially for those heading past their first flush of youth. This helpful hint is due no doubt to the never-ending horrendous news and pretty grim weather. However, the WI is historically well aware of this, by organising happy and entertaining events and we had a prime example of a very amusing and uplifting session of this recently when two Cornish Bards entertained members at Chy Noweth an Conteth, with a decidedly Cornish element plus homemade Cornish fairings. Bert Bissoe and Pol Hodge sang, told stories and jokes finishing with a robust rendering of Trelawney. The epitome of a Cornish afternoon’s jocular entertainment and, of course, we all left feeling 10 years younger.

November is often a bleak month, however in this month’s County News, WI members have plenty to be cheerful about with a raft of events to enjoy, right up to the end of the month with even more goodies scheduled for December.

The highlight must be the Christmas Carol Service being held at St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin. Members are being asked to come early to enjoy refreshments before the service, which starts at 3pm. The perfect event to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We also have the Christmas lunches where we can enjoy delicious food and revel in the luxury of having the meal put in front of us in regal style.

We are also invited to a Retro Lunch at Chy Noweth an Conteth when we can be adventuresome and find out exactly what this means. Do you remember the ‘70s? Interesting courses will be served, in the style of those bygone days – with surprises! The date is Friday12 January, 12pm for 12.30pm. Cost £19. Closing date is 15 December. WI members love the challenge to try something different. It will be fab!

Another lunch! How very satisfying. So many problems have been solved over WI lunches, especially in such idyllic surroundings as the Budock Vean Hotel, a great favourite with the members. The date for this lunch is Wednesday 7 February. Cost £32.

IWD: International Women's Day 2024 campaign theme: #InspireInclusionMore food is on the agenda with the International Women’s Day afternoon tea at Penventon Park Hotel on Friday 8 March at 2pm. This is a global holiday commemorating the diverse and stellar achievements of women. We have had a wide experience of the standard we have received from the Penventon Park Hotel recently, and coupled with acknowledging how successful women are in high profile positions from the speaker, Kathryn Billing, Cornwall’s Chief Fire Officer. Another arresting CFWI afternoon.

There is also notification of the competitions to be held at next years Royal Cornwall Show (6-8 June 2024), so we shall all have a chance to peruse the very appealing title, from the poem ”Sea Fever” by John Masefield, enabling intense discussions over the Christmas festivities. WI members always like a challenge and following the mood and imagination of this well known poem in their exhibits will provide a stunning display. Closing date for entries is 31 March 2024.

Free Sea Ocean photo and pictureThe Baker Cup is one of those very special awards that members look upon with great respect. It’s a competition for four members attracting those who really wish to investigate and research the chosen subject. The report should contain between 4,000 and 6,000 words along with any maps and/or illustrations appropriate to the topic and can be submitted electronically or in book form. The title of this competition is “Women: Cornwall and the Sea” What a wealth of literary images this conjures up. This will be a wonderful hobby over the next few months for a group of members in the WI which will become a treasured WI archive and an educational achievement. Guidelines are with your WI Secretary and on the CFWI website. Closing date for the competition is 22 February. Submission date for entries is 30 May. Cost of entry is £8.

Hopefully, members are already filling up their brand new 2024 navy blue WI Diaries, with a surfeit of New Year activities, particularly an amiable event being held at Helston at the delightful Boating Lake on Thursday 8 February. February is a good time for viewing birds and if this is a favourite pursuit you will know that if David Chapman is leading this walk everyone is guaranteed an enjoyable time. Members are asked to meet, with binoculars, at the free Fairground car park opposite the lake at 10am. The distance to walk is about 2 miles on a level path, but it can be muddy so sensible footwear advised. The walk will finish at the lakeside café. The cost is £8.

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