Easton WI meets in the Village Hall at Easton on the Second Thursday of the month at 7.15pm. You will be made very welcome if you would like to attend a meeting and hopefully you will want to join. Please just turn up on the night.
Reports from Meetings in 2014/15
September 11th – Graphology – your character in your handwriting – Graham Birchmore
Easton WI’s first meeting after the summer break began with a talk by graphologist, Graham Birchmore. His interest in the subject began many years ago with his attempt to identify the sender of a Valentine card. Disappointingly it turned out to be his mother!!
He began by inviting members to write a few lines on a blank A5 sheet, from which he distilled every scrap of information to analyse the writer. He suggested the less imaginative had used the paper in portrait format and the more unconventional in landscape format. Margins, spaces between words, upward strokes, downward loops and how you join your letters are all significant. Lines of writing leading upward indicate an optimistic outlook, those downward a depressive tendency. Forward sloping text shows a friendly, forward-looking personality, whereas a backward slope may suggest a defensive, introverted one.
Next time you put pen to paper to ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s be very careful. The way you dot and cross can show you to be ambitious, accurate, careless, living in the past, dependable, lazy, stubborn, spiritual, patronising or highly intelligent.
If you want to frustrate agraphologist write in capital letters!!
Happily this report is typed so you can deduce no character from it!!! I am only prepared to admit to being cool, independent and secretive!!!! This piece remains anonymous!!
October 9th – The Great Easton Bake Off
The Easton Hall did not look as usual for a WI meeting. There were mysterious heaps on 2 tables covered by tea towels!!!
After the business of the meeting had been completed those tea towels were whipped off and the blue touch paper was lit for the Great Easton Bake Off. In true WI tradition, we were to have a competition to produce 20 mini blueberry muffins.
There was a lot of rushing around to check weights and a debate as to how many blueberries would be best (team 6 must be the greedy ones, we over did it) and after a real panic as to whether the oven was actually up to temperature, we sat back to await the results and the judgement.
Needless to say team 7 produced 20 lovely golden brown, juicy muffins that came out of their cases cleanly. However team 6 found no fault with their efforts and there were only clean plates at the end of the evening. Both teams were declared to be winners.
Mary Berry would be well pleased with everyone’s efforts and the evening was enjoyed by all the members.
November 13th – A Life under the Waves
Ever heard of the Crazy Ivan manoeuvre? Well our speaker for the evening, Mike Curtis, a retired Royal Navy Sunmariner was able to explain this to the ladies of the WI and their interested visitors. More about this later. Have you ever thought about the very cramped conditions on a submarine and how the crew manage on a day to day basis. Mike gave a brief outline of life on board one of the old diesel electric submarines and showed pictures of what it was like. He explained that the Captain is always right in any situation. The importance of a repetitive menu enabling the crew to know what day of the week it was especially when spending long stretches at sea and under the waves, also their daily quota of rum and the different daily toasts which accompanied them. There were fun moments too, a BBQ on the hull of the submarine in the Caribbean!! Back to Crazy Ivan which he explained as a manoeuvre designed to allow the subs sonar to listen to the sea directly behind the engines – remember the film ” Red October”. To listen to see if anyone is creeping along behind them turns of 70º to port or starboard are executed which allows the spread of the sonar to pick them up. Clever!!! The whole talk provided an interesting insight into the life of a submarine and its crew.
December 3rd – Festive Activity Evening
Our meeting was held in the Martyr Worthy Village Hall which had been festively decorated by the children of the Riverbank Nursery. After the business of the meeting everyone had the chance to make a Christmas decoration. This was a lavender cone, full of dried lavender, covered with fabric and tied with ribbon. We all had a great time and some excellent results were created. Also we were shown how to make an different sized angel decorations from magazine pages – not too difficult and looked very good when sprayed with gold or silver spray paint. Everyone shared a sumptious buffet supper to which everyone had contributed a plate of food. Proceeds from the raffle were sent to Winchester Women’s Refuge. It was a fun filled evening and a great start to the Christmas celebrations.
January 8th – 5 and a half things you should know about preventing back pain
A very thought provoking evening which made us all sit up straight and add another New Year Resolution to treat our backs with more care. The presentation and talk were given by Mark Kennedy and Philippa Prentice from Winchester Sports and Spine Chiropractics and we were shown how to bend our backs to keep our spines in “neutral” – not very elegant but good for the back. Sheets with 5 different exercises specifically aimed to keep our backs supple were handed out and the extra half?? – drink plenty of water to hydrate your body and keep everything supple. An excellent evening and lots of good advice.
February 12th – In Grandpa’s Footsteps – from Barry to Shanghai
Liz Baron came along to tell us of her lifelong wish to follow in her Grandpa’s footsteps and travel from Barry to Shanghai – by train!!! She talked us through from the start of her journey in Barry at the house where her Grandpa once lived to her final destination, Shanghai. We saw pictures and maps detailing each step and were totally enthused with her adventure. This was a once in a lifetime trip which she had researched avidly for many years and finally accomplished at a time of life when most people would have probably left it as an unfulfilled dream. Not the easiest of journeys but great to listen to her.
March 12th – “A Ramble through the History of Easton” – Mike Cox
We spent the evening learning all sorts of very interesting history of the village of Easton from the year 875 through to the early 20th century. Mike’s talk was illustrated with photos from an album belonging to a Mrs Cuell, a name remembered by some who have been in the village or local area most of their lives. It brought home the invaluable resources that photo albums complete with captions are to future generations. In some ways Easton seems not to have changed over the years especially the two pubs which are featured in many of the photographs.
April 9th – A Wardrobe in your Luggage
Nicola Davis came along to our meeting complete with her one suitcase ready for a two week holiday. We were obviously disbelieving, how can any woman only need one suitcase – but when opened she showed us that she had enough outfits to meet every occasion in just that one bag. She took us through how to co-ordinate everything using neutral colours so we could mix and match our outfits. Colour co-ordination and knowing which colours suit us can cut down on the wardrobe items which we buy and then never wear. The most outstanding revelation was that she only took 2 pairs of shoes – none of us thought that was possible!!!! However we all went away determined to experiment with our packing – so far no-one has reported back that they have managed this remarkable feat!!!
May 14th – Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting was held at Easton Village Hall and as well as the business of the meeting there was a Pimms and Puds theme. Everyone was encouraged to try a variety of different puddings which were all scrumptious especially when accompanied by a glass of Pimms.
Reports from Meetings in 2015/16
June 11th – Garden Meeting
Members met at Avington Park Farm where Robert Stent gave members a guided tour round his crops of cereals and grasses, explaining how computers and technology are essential for the efficient use of pesticides when needed. It was interesting to hear how the woodland is managed and the wood is being recycled for heating.
July 9th – Dresses for Africa
Easton Village Hall was a hive of activity when members met to make dresses for little girls in Africa. Some dresses were made using cotton pillowcases and others from cotton materials. Each dress was cut out, pinned, stitched, decorated and ironed with lots of help and advice. Twenty dresses in all were completed on the night and these and others still to be made will be collected up and sent out via the ‘Dresses for Africa’ contact.
September 10th – Dan Allen talking about the Role of Women in the Victorian Army.
Unfortunately our speaker for the evening had a car breakdown and was unable to be with us.
October 8th – An evening with Strictly Come Dancing Dresses with Tabitha Webb
Unfortunately our speaker for this evening had a prior commitment and was unable to fulfill her visit.
Therefore a trivia quiz was organized and enjoyed by all.
November 12th – The history of the Magic Circle.
Stephen Welles was an excellent speaker. Our open evening was well attended and we were baffled, indeed, by the clever tricks that Stephen performed throughout his talk.
He spoke of famous magicians from Houdini to Paul Daniels and Derren Brown. We are hoping to invite him back for our next programme, perhaps to talk about the history of Punch and Judy or Butlins Holiday camps – where he launched his life long career and interest in performing magic.
December 3rd – Christmas meal at The Chestnut Horse.
A wonderful evening was had by all, nearly everyone from the group attended. The Chestnut Horse served a delicious three course meal, with table crackers for a festive twist. It was a good opportunity to catch up with each other and to hear what others were planning for the Christmas season.
After eating and much chatting, a ‘secret Santa’ style raffle took place, where we all received a surprise treat and managed to raise £120 for the local air ambulance team, too.
January 14th – Reflexology with Jackie James.
Jackie led a very informative evening, we were told how reflexology has become more popular over the past decades, and on a white board she sketched the body as a map, that linked to certain parts of the feet.
Jackie spoke enthusiastically about the calming benefits of reflexology and one of our members volunteered to be a ‘model’ and received a soothing foot massage.
The evening was very interactive and many questions were answered, regarding certain ailments, such as, not sleeping well and neck/back pain.
It was a fun evening, and we all enjoyed a good group chat.
February 11th – Prepare a meal for £1 challenge.
We did not have a speaker this month, instead we held a challenge for members to put forward a recipe costing no more than £1 per person, which was then judged to produce an overall winner. We find this a nice way to have an evening, where we can have a group get together and a bit of fun, too.
Below are a few of the recipes, brought in by our members:
Brown Rice Risotto
Medium-sized onion 1
Medium-sized green pepper 1
Butter or margarine 1oz (25g)
Oil 3 tbsp (45ml)
Broken cashew nuts 2 oz (50g)
Medium-sized tomatoes 4
Long-grain brown rice, cooked 8oz (225g)
Garlic clove, crushed 1
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop the onion and slice the pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan. Add the green pepper, onion and cashew nuts and sauté until the vegetables are just tender, stirring occasionally. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan with the rice and garlic. Continue stirring over a gentle heat until the rice is heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste.
This is a Cranks veggie recipe for four.
The cashew nuts is the expense but only a small amount needed. I feel that this dish should fall into the confines of £1.00 per person.
Liver and onions – Vivienne
450g onions – chopped
450g lambs liver
Fry onions lightly in hot fat until start to colour, add seasoning and cover and simmer gently for about 10 mins. Wash and trim the liver and cut into thin strips. Add to the onions, increase the heat slightly for about 5-10 minutes stirring all the time until the liver is just cooked.
I cook my vegetables in a very small amount of water but keep the water and use it again before you know you have a very tasty vegetable stock which I use for gravy. I add this sort of stock to the liver and onions which gives lovely gravy.
I serve the liver and onions with mashed potato and say sweet heart cabbage.
Cost The whole meal (including veg) £2.40 for 4 people
Celeriac, Red onion, Carrot and Smoked Cheddar Pie (See current WI Magazine for details)
1 medium sized celeriac, cubed
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper
3 carrots, diced
2 red onions, sliced
4 tbsp plain flour
120g smoked cheddar, grated
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1sheet pre-rolled puff pastry
1egg to glaze
From From Hand to Mouth, Cookery Recipes Supplied by Members of Berkshire Women’s Institutes, 1944 edition.
Delicious Cheap Soup
Finely chop 1 onion, 1 turnip and 1 carrot and add them to 1 quart milk in a casserole. Cook in the oven for 4 hours, then strain and press all the liquid from the vegetables.
Mix 1 tab sp. cornflour with a little cold water, then stir it into the milk along with 3 oz butter. Boil up and serve immediately with fried sippets of bread.
Chop 2 onions and cook with ½ lb lentils until soft (mixture should be quite dry).
Soak ½ lb stale breadcrumbs in water till soft then squeeze the liquid out.
Mix together some minced remains of cooked mutton, the lentils and breadcrumbs.
Season, press into a dish, dot the top with dripping and bake in a fairly hot oven till brown.
Economy Plum Pudding
Mix together 2 oz flour, 1½ oz sugar, ½ tea sp. bicarbonate of soda, ½ tea sp. mixed spice,
2 oz mixed fruit, ½ cup grated carrot and ½ cup grated potato.
Melt ½ oz margarine and add to the dry ingredients then steam the mixture in a pudding basin for 1½ hrs.
Maybe you would like to try these delicious sounding recipes out, too!
March 10th – Hearing dogs for the deaf, with Britt-Marie Wallwark.
We had the treat this evening of having a very well behaved poodle called Daphne, visit us. Her remarkable owner is Britt-Marie Wallwark and she gave a fascinating talk about her life, living with deafness and how she came about acquiring her clever companion, Daphne.
Since Britt-Marie was not born deaf, she is able to speak – but is without hearing, unfortunately, now. She told us about her life, from the time when she moved from her homeland,Sweden, to present times. In the meantime, Daphne sat as good as gold on her little mat at Britt-Marie’s feet. Then, afterwards, she was allowed to wander around us, whilst we had tea and biscuits – of which she had her fair share!
Britt-marie was an excellent speaker, full of enthusiasm to promote awareness of ‘The hearing dogs for the deaf, charity’. A very worthy cause.
April 14th – Antiques and collectables with Mike Cox.
This evening a Easton village resident and husband to one of our members, visited us to talk about his lifelong interest, that being: antiques and collecting curios. Mike spoke about furniture, china and pottery and important furniture makers, such as, Chippendale and Hepplewhite. He also spoke about how he became interested in the topic and had some photographs to share with us.
After each topic we had a quiz too, and a very tempting carrot prompted us to rise to the challenge – a bottle of wine! The winner scored 27 out of 50, which was very good, since the questions were pretty difficult.
Mike had also invited us to bring along any interesting articles for discussion and discuss we did, since his one hour talk was extended to one and a half! Time flies when you are having fun and we had a very enjoyable evening, with some delicious biscuits and lots of cups of tea, too.
Easton WI Clubs
We have just started a Lunch Club and a Book Club to add to the existing Craft afternoon for any ladies in the WI who would like to come along. These take place as follows:-
Craft – 2nd Tuesday of the month
Lunch Club – 3rd Wednesday of the month
Book Club – 4th Monday of the month
We also have a thriving Theatre Group who regularly go to see plays/ music etc.
If any of these activities appeal to you check your minutes of the last meeting and contact the person organising these clubs.
Baton Relay – Hampshire – January 2015 – Centenerary year for WI
Baton for Relay to be filled with pictures
Arriving in Basingstoke
Arriving in Alresford courtesy of the AA
and moving on by Camper Van