Stanhoe & Barwick WI news archive


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8 September 2023

The craft of silver

A jewellery maker enthrals Stanhoe WI members.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon when Stanhoe and Barwick WI members gathered in their summer clothes for their September meeting to see Claire Howard show her sparkling silver jewellery, and hear about the processes involved in its creation.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Claire standing with a display of silver jewellery

Claire Howard, maker of fine silver jewellery

Claire grew up in a “crafty” family, but only came to silversmithing just before her son was born, when she was given a jewellery kit to keep her busy. Soon she was hooked on making jewellery and began to learn silversmithing techniques from an elderly craftsman, making as her first real piece of silver work a pair of cuff links for her husband.

As her skills have increased she has created necklaces (many based on natural objects such as shells), bangles, and earrings, some on commission and some for sale at craft fairs. She explained the basic methods of silversmithing and polishing items, and we watched a demonstration of making a tiny earring with amazing dexterity.

The examples of her work on show were very special. Claire says she is a perfectionist. Properly so!

The vote of thanks from a member, Penelope, was something else! It included a funny ditty about a nervous lady acquiring ear rings for pierced ears. It had the members and the speaker laughing, and made a happy ending to the proceedings.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 8 September 2023

4 August 2023

A glass of flowers

Stanhoe WI members learn from an expert floral arranger.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI members had a big treat at their August meeting when Crystal Dyball, a NAFAS demonstrator, created four stunning flower arrangements in front of them, all the while explaining about the suitability of the plants and the techniques being used.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Crystal Dyball in a spotted dress standing with red flowers and green foliage in a giant long-stemmed glass

Crystal Dyball with her giant cocktail glass

The arrangements were a “Cocktail in a Cocktail Glass”, using green net to look like the liquid, and ferns, a tall grass, contrast leaves and red Carnations for effect on top; this was followed by “A Handheld Bouquet” of tightly packed stems of greenery, pinky-green Hydrangeas, and greeny-white Roses; and then an “All Round” arrangement in a china tureen, with a scrunchy aluminium wire support, packed with pink Gerbera, pink Roses, Hypericum buds, and Phantom Grass; and finally a “Hanging Arrangement” in an oblong “paddle pot” was created highlighting Hosta leaves with a creamy edge, yellow Roses, and long Phormium leaves.

Colourful flowers hanging in a rustic cube-shaped frame

The hanging arrangement

All four stunning arrangements were given as raffle prizes for lucky members to take home.

Pink, yellow and green flowers and foliage in a china bowl, with a decorated tureen in front

All-round arrangement

Crystal Dyball standing as she prepares a bouquet

Handheld bouquet

After tea and biscuits the business meeting, taken by a Vice President, highlighted events to come, which includ two walks, three workshops, a visit by our new WI Adviser, and the need to move our Centenary Tree to a larger space as its growth is being restricted.

Coctail glass and bouquet arrangements on the Village Hall piano, with old photos and tapestry behind

Cocktail and bouquet

It was a very busy, very happy meeting, with beautiful flowers to enjoy.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 4 August 2023

28 July 2023

WI seeks locals

Stanhoe WI is thriving, but has few members from the village itself.

Stanhoe & Barwick WI is doing well, but has few members from the village. If you think you’ve been missing out, come along to the Reading Room on the first Thursday of each month at 2pm.

Poster seeking new members for Stanhoe WI

Click on the image for a larger version.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 28 July 2023

2 June 2023

A buzz at the WI

Beekeeping talk enthuses Stanhoe WI members.

The June meeting of Stanhoe and Barwick WI was an exciting time as 26 members were accompanied by a glass case containing 20,000 honey bees, to hear Stuart Grant of Heacham Honey speak about his fascinating hobby of being a beekeeper.

This is a very important role as 90 percent of our flowering fruit trees are pollinated by bees, and 85 percent of all plants too.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Four people standing, staring at a laptop screen

Setting up the projector

The structure of the standard hive was explained as having a queen (whose body contains enough eggs to lay in her lifetime of about five years); several drones (who live for six months); and a large number of workers (who live for 18 weeks.) As was the fact that the bees themselves secrete the wax and build up their own geometric honeycomb cells which they fill with honey after drinking in nectar from flowers. There will be 70–80,000 bees in a normal hive.

Very many bees behind a sheet of glass

Where it all happens

The flavour of the honey produced depends on the flowers nearby, as well as the bees being given a winter feed of a strong sugar solution by the beekeeper.

Jars of Heacham Honey stacked on a table

The final product

It was a most interesting talk and Mr Grant was warmly thanked before members rushed to taste the Heacham Honey and purchase jars to take home.

The WI Business was short and outlined future events organised for members, and featured a report on The Norfolk Federation AGM held recently, where the fun part was Esme Young of The Great British Sewing Bee relive her younger life and career in fashion culminating in a very popular TV series.

We all went home feeling cheerful on a rather chilly and windy June day.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 2 June 2023

15 May 2023

Rot and royalty

Stanhoe WI members celebrate the coronation and learn about conservation at Oxborough.

photos: Rosemary Brown

The coronation gnome

The May meeting for Stanhoe and Barwick WI was very special as it was a Coronation Month Meeting. It started with “Three Cheers for The King”; this was followed by the planned monthly talk; and as a finale a Coronation Tea, with sweet and savoury food made by members, was served. Some members dressed for the occasion in tiaras, and one brought her Coronation Gnome as decoration.

Our speaker was Anne Guymer, a volunteer at Oxborough Hall, who kept us fascinated by the tale of “Endurance” or as she called it ”Medieval Rafters, Rats, and Treasure”, a renovation building project stared in 2016, and finished in 2022 at a cost of £6,000,000.

Julia seated, with tiara

Dressed for the occasion: Julia in her tiara

Problems first began to emerge when a dormer window fell into the courtyard one evening, and investigations showed that the rest of the dormer windows, the gatehouse, and all 27 chimneys were in a similar state, with rot having set into the woodwork everywhere.

Speaker Ann Guilder standing, in purple sweater

Speaker Anne Guymer, a volunteer at Oxborough

36 miles of scaffolding was erected, even in the moat where it was stabilised with sandbags. And a plastic cover was put on the roof where almost 18,000 tiles needed replacing.

Whilst the work was in progress many treasures were discovered including pieces of fabric from clothing, a fragment of blue and gold illuminated lettering dating from 1400, many fragments of wallpaper, and the Keynes Psalmes, a prayer book from 1569. Even the Bats were moved out from one area to aid the work and discoveries. There are still many treasures waiting to be revealed from a stash of many black bin bags!

Table spread with sandwiches and other savoury delicacies

A fine spread

We finished with a whistle stop tour of the Bedingfield family line, before hearing of Lady Sybil and some relatives who rescued Oxbofough from demolition in the early 1950’s by collecting a sum of £5,000 to purchase the property. And in 1952 she gave it to the National Trust for safekeeping.

Since the renovations Oxborough has become one of the top 28 “TreasureHouses” owned by the National Trust.

It was a fascinating talk, and a follow up visit is positively recommended.

View of the speaker’s presentation from the rear of the hall

Members listening to the talk by Anne Guymer (standing, right)

After that,our very relaxed members were invited to help themselves to goodies from a selection of savoury dishes, followed by a selection of sweet dishes, accompanied by a fruit punch, and cups of tea served by our committee in our best antique WI china which is only used on special occasions.

Cakes and other sweet delicacies on the table

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 15 May 2023

7 April 2023

Head scratcher

A quiz at short notice keeps Stanhoe WI members entertained.

Good things often come out of catastrophes, as Stanhoe and Barwick WI members found out at their April meeting. Our speaker developed COVID the day before, and our President had the brilliant idea of consulting the WI Book of Quizes which was full of ideas to test our intellects.

photos: Rosemary Brown

WI members at their quiz tables

WI members buckle down to their quiz

Every table of members was given two sheets of picture and word puzzles to solve. It kept all of us busy, sharing ideas, for an hour. It was fortunate that my table had two ladies who regularly attend quiz nights taking part! But everyone had great fun stretching their brains before tea and cake appeared to round off the afternoon.

In our business meeting members were encouraged to join in with Women Walk The World, our charity for 2023, and our WI walk on 28 April, as well as to sign up for several future events, particularly next months Coronation Tea which relies on delicious food brought in by members.

We rejoiced in the fact that we now have 37 members, and look forward to many more sociable occasions together.

Quiz sheet with questions

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 7 April 2023

2 March 2023

WI AGM news

Stanhoe WI members relax to healing sounds after a busy AGM.

The March meeting of Stanhoe and Barwick WI was a very busy time. The AGM took place, when members were pleased to re-elect the current hardworking committee, including President Nicola Smith, Secretary Valerie Robson, and treasurer Julia Walton, who all presented detailed reports which were all accepted. It was noted that our activities were numerous, our membership has increased, and we are known as a friendly and welcoming WI.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Sally Collins standing at a table bearing a range of large coloured bowls

Sound therapist Sally Collins with her range of healing instruments

But we were also entertained by Sally Collins a Reiki trained practitioner, our speaker, who explained fully about Sound Healing and how it acts on our brains. She brought along and demonstrated the sounds from some impressive pieces of equipment, from a range of Crystal Bowls, which emitted calming individual notes, to an Ocean Drum containing glass beads and their movement created sounds of the sea. There was another drum making more usual sounds, tuning forks, rattles, a gong, and even a Rain Stick made from the stem of a giant cactus.

Sally finished with a ten minute relaxation session using many of her instruments. Many members felt the benefit of the Sound Therapy and were keen to attend a follow up class in the future.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 2 March 2023

26 February 2023

Geli good!

Creative printmaking inspires Stanhoe WI members.

On the morning of 23 February nine members of Stanhoe & Barwick WI attended a workshop in the Reading Room: we all knew that it was painting, but I doubt if any of us really knew what ‘geli painting’ was, or what was involved!

photos: Pamela Austin

WI members hard at work, in aprons and standing at tables covered with art materials

Members hard at work on their geli paintings

We were treated to hot drinks and biscuits and then introduced to not only our speaker, Lucy Jacklin, but also the gel squares which were already attached to the table covering, and we were shown some examples of the discipline followed by a brief demonstration - and then it was all hands on deck, and we were in up to our wrists!

Finished geli paintings of leaves, flowers, fish and other subjects from nature

The natural world inspired many of the finished results 

We began by cutting or tearing up strips of brown paper, choosing a colour of acrylic paint, and spreading the paint on the gel to produce a piece of paper with stripes, to which we rapidly added more colours and stripes, and we were away, varying the paint colours, choosing or making shapes, leaves, flowers, doilies and much more. We each ended up with a pile of between around 10 to 20 assorted and totally unique pictures – and before we knew it, 12.30 had arrived, so we quickly packed up and said goodbye, after a couple of fascinating, enjoyable and sociable hours with fellow members.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 26 February 2023

2 February 2023

All about Lynn

The story of our ancient port enthrals Stanhoe WI members.

Stanhoe and Barwick WI members were very lucky to have Michael Aldis as their February speaker. Having been a King’s Lynn Town Guide for 22 years he had a wealth of knowledge to share with us, and a wide range of photographs to illustrate the places of interest, with fascinating background tales to go with them.

We started with a map of the area showing the town positioned at the mouth of the River Ouse and facing directly onto The Wash. We were told how important Lynn was in earlier times as it was the fourth-largest port in England, importing wine and timber and exporting grain and wool.

photo: Rosemary Brown

Michael Aldis, expert on the history of King’s Lynn

This was followed by a whistlestop tour of the buildings in the town. Firstly the Guildhall (now the Town Hall, and “The Stories Of Lynn” museum site), with its ancient plaque depicting the Pelican in Piety and three dragons with crosses on their heads, in reference to St Margaret of Antioch. This was followed by photographs of St Margaret’s Church (now The Minster), with its splendid interior and many artefacts such as the processional cross, the Tide Clock and the History Window.

Moving on we visited Marriott’s Warehouse, Thoresby College, Clifton House, Bank House, the Customs House, St George’s Guildhall, the Corn Exchange, and the Tuesday Market Place.

It was a fascinating tour, and members look forward to going on a follow-up walking tour of all these places later in 2023.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 2 February 2023

12 January 2023

Nature first

Nature-based crafts enthuse Stanhoe WI members.

What a good start we had to 2023 when Stanhoe and Barwick WI members met for their January meeting.

Two lovely ladies, Katie Hayden-Slater of Wild Oak Workshops and Debbie Perris of Gratitude 43 – New Life through Art, worked together to demonstrate “Combining Crafts With Nature”.

photos: Rosemary Brown

Katie Hayden-Slater and Debbie Perris

Katie Hayden-Slater (l) and Debbie Perris (r)

Debbie is skilled in decoupage, and having displayed many lovely items from decorated vases and wine glasses, to coasters and place mats, all with interesting designs based on nature, she demonstrated how to quickly decorate an item with snippets from a decorated paper serviette. It looked so easy and quick to do following the tips given. She maintains that even if you are not naturally artistic her motto is “You can do it”.

Decoupage items decorated with flowers, insects and a hare

Debbie’s decoupage display

Katie’s skill is in arranging flowers and foliage, using greenery from the garden and hedgerow, with an emphasis on “Connecting us to Nature”. She quickly assembled and expertly wrapped a beautiful dwarf bouquet, suitable for use on a dining table,or as a beautiful gift for someone special.

A fine bouquet of white lilies and green foliage

Katie’s beautiful bouquet

She also delved into her box of “Treasures from the Natural World”, and excited us with taking macro photographs with a phone, of natural items such as a shell, a butterfly wing, bits of honeycomb, and garden waste.

Lichen, a bird’s nest and a flower ready to be photographed with a clip-on macro lens

Treasures from the natural world, with a phone macro lens

It was two most interesting and exciting talks for the 26 members and 5 visitors present.

We really came down to earth after that though as we were all asked to listen to presentations on four WI Resolutions and to vote for the one we considered to be most important, to be chosen for forwarding to the National AGM 2023. They encompassed water quality of natural water sources, online gambling, better wages for native tea pickers rather than profits for the middlemen, and the need to lessen the amount of water used in our homes.

So, in thoughtful mode we set off homewards in the gloaming.

Posted by: Charles

Posted on: 12 January 2023

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