We all had a great evening at our January meeting with Julia Cawte. Julia demonstrated mindfulness by imagining yourself as a tree and sending your roots down deep to enable you to find a hidden stability and thus find it easier to speak out. We spent a therapeutic 5 mins tapping and gently slapping our own bodies from feet to head, to stimulate nerve endings and thus increasing confidence within ourselves.
We considered our options voting for our WI resolutions for 2017 – using our voices once again.
The first committee meeting of 2017 returned to The Chequers for work to be accompanied by salt and pepper squid.
The Bath WI Book Group began the year reading ‘Circling the Sun’ by Paula McLain, with a lively discussion at the Blathwayt Arms, enriched by June’s tales of life in Kenya.
Bath WI was invited to send two lucky members to The Paint Republic’s South West Launch Party. Hosted by charming Sam Bartlett, Deputy G M of the wonderful emporium, Hall & Woodhouse, it was a fun venue, for a fun event! Ruth & Kitty and over a glass of bubbly (or two), lively music, and great banter, painted their masterpieces. Move over Monet!
A few of our crafty types got together and, like WIs throughout the country, made green hearts to promote environmental awareness in regard to climate change.
Our February meeting brought Shane Jordan talking to us about food waste. He was very passionate about his subject and tried to persuade us that we could cook banana skins! (incidentally, probably not a great idea as generally heavily coated in pesticides!)
The kind owners of St.James’s Café/Deli on St. James’s St. Bath, began selling the Bath WI Garden postcards. Thank you very much Kim and Alex, much appreciated!
The Bath WI Community Garden plans for a little French field of Sunflowers was helped along by a dried sunflower head, kindly given to us by the talented gardeners at The Pig Hotel near Bath.
12 ladies spent a wonderful morning learning to hand tie bouquets of flowers at the Tallulah Rose flower school.
The first round draw for the Avon WI Darts Trophy saw Timsbury WI v Bath WI. The match consisted of the best of five legs and was played at the Royal British Legion, Timsbury. A nail biting finish saw the two darts needed hitting a single two and double one for the Bath Buns win. Final score Timsbury WI 1 – Bath WI 3.
Everything in the garden was beautiful at the Bath WI’s March meeting when we were lucky enough to have lovely Zoe from Hilliers Garden Centre to show us how wonderful containers can look with an unusual variety of plants. Think outside the box/pot; we learned a lot about colour, shape, interesting presentation, think Spring, think Bling!
The February 2017 book club book was Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie: Five years after Findings broke the mould of nature writing, Kathleen Jamie subtly shifts our focus on landscape and the living world, daring us to look again at the ‘natural’, the remote and the human-made. She offers us the closest of perspectives and the most distant, too: from vistas of cells beneath a hospital microscope, or the pores of a whale’s jawbone under restoration, to satellites rising over a Scottish island, or the aurora borealis lighting up an iceberg-strewn sea. We encounter killer whales circling below cliffs, noisy colonies of breeding gannets, and paintings deep in caves. Written with precision, delicacy and personal recollection, Sightlines invites us to pause and look afresh at our surroundings.
The ladies of the Bath WI were in London today! A guided tour of the Palace of Westminster by Ben Howlett, our (then) MP, followed by tea on the terrace. A fascinating tour learning about the history of the buildings and artwork and, of course, the processes of Parliament – and we even got to visit the cupboard infamous both for hiding Emily Wilding Davison and for shenanigans in Apple Tree Yard!
Tesco Bags of Help chose our community garden to be one of the charities the people of Bath could vote to support – and we all shopped and voted!
Each WI in the Avon Federation was given a triangle of fabric to decorate. These have all been collected up and made into impressively long and interesting Avon Fed bunting! Sue Deere was in charge of ours to capture our signature bath, the gorgeous garden and the friendships in our WI.
A few of the Bath WI book club had a trip to The Little Theatre Cinema.
The Chief Executive Officer of Banes Carers’ Centre, Sonia Hutchison, was our annual charity speaker for 2017 in April. Bath WI likes to promote local charities and learn about their role in the community. The Banes Centre was opened in 2014 having struggled to find premises with parking, which was a must and finally achieved! Sonia highlighted the Bath Carers’ Centre garden, which was originally on display at the Hampton Court Flower Show, and how BBC’s ‘One Show’ donated it to the Centre.
Bath WI Garden Team had a ‘works outing’ to The Pig Hotel near Bath. It has a spectacular vegetable garden, and they were lucky enough to spend time with two of their award winning gardeners Fran and Cello. Then into the beautiful conservatory for a delicious lunch with Honorary Gurus Thea and new baby Laurie. It was lovely to be together in a relaxed setting without the usual accessories of trowels, forks and seed packets!
The weather warmed up and the Bath WI garden needed plenty of watering from the garden gurus. Meanwhile, in the homes of WI members, seedlings grew apace.
Late April brought perfect walking weather (overcast but warm) as the WI Walkie Talkies set out along the canal in Bathwick. They walked to the George at Bathampton and a bit beyond admiring the ducklings. Lunch at the George was a leisurely affair around a lovely round table where they planned their next walk.
Crochet ‘crafty’ evening – Ruth provided excellent tuition on how to crochet! By the end of the evening, everyone had mastered chain and double crochet, and had embarked on crocheted flowers.
Lovely Simon, retired from BANES council parks department. He was such a stalwart and good friend to the Bath WI garden gurus and will be sorely missed. He always gave a smile, a kind word, advice and a welcome hug. The Botanical garden won’t be the same without him. Still, he’s promised to come over and see us when not a home catching up with DIY or at Bath City football games!
We had an amazing evening at our May meeting and were all inspired to trot home and distress the legs of our kitchen tables. Vanessa of the Marmalade House told us about her degree in Fine Art and how, when she moved over to the Middle East, she was inspired by the pigments used by rug makers and stitchers. From there she moved to Oxford where she met Annie Sloan and discovered Chalk Paint. They first worked together over 25yrs ago. As Vanessa said, with Chalk Paint you can’t go wrong with upcycling.
Bath WI Garden gurus planted a French agricultural Sunflower Field at the heart of its sylvan splendiferousness! The young sunflowers, loved their new surroundingsand prepared to show off to the hundreds of visitors who enjoy watching our Garden grow. Su our wonderful Willow weaver kept a keen eye on the straightness of our row! As always, a total team triumph!
The Bath Buns darts team practice evenings continued at the Pulteney Arms. A good turn out of six meant a run of three games for all. Jo kindly imparted her knowledge gained from a Dave Alred talk the previous evening, and although much of it was probably relating to rugby they attempted to transfer the ‘tips’ to darts. The power of positivity, planting their feet firmly on the ground and focusing on one tiny place on the target. They all gave it a go and with an extra loop the loop with her dart Karen managed to close out two of the games with double one. A fun evening had by all ended with a good chin wag around a very large table.
Speakers Secretary Helen had a trip to the Palace for a garden party and supported our local ice cream makers (and past WI speaker), by tucking in to Marshfield Farm ice cream.
Our first ‘talking table’ coffee morning was very popular in the cafe at the Holborne Museum. It was a great turn out and a nice chance for an informal chat over tea and coffee and a spot of lunch for those with a bit more time to spare. It was so lovely to get to know a few more people a bit better.
Two of our members, Sam and Karen, walked from London to Brighton and raised over £1200 for breast cancer charity walk the walk.
Another crochet evening – as the first was so popular!
Our chief garden guru Kitty bumped in to Rachel de Thame at Chelsea Flower Show; a chance to catch up after Rachel’s visit to the Bath WI garden the previous year.
A group of lucky ladies spent a wonderful and very informative evening at Bath Botanical Gin Distillery and Herbal Apothecary. They learnt how to turn vodka into gin with Juniper berries and sampled a range of flavours, such as coriander, star anise and cinnamon, that are added to the gin to create unique botanical flavours. They took away a kit to make their own and also had to sample the finished product of course! Afterwards they headed to the cool garden of the White Hart and chatted before heading home.
We were very excited to be invited to the launch of the Bath and Bristol food festival, where we got to meet Masterchef winner Ping Coombes, eat a lovely afternoon tea and enter the omelette competition. Ruth’s was by far the most presentable offering.
Our June WI meeting was a fun, social evening – with games organised by Ruth and delicious sharing plates provided by members. It may have been a small turnout but we all had a great time!
For our July meeting we had a walking tour of Bath, courtesy of The Mayor’s Guides. Alan took us on a tour of Bath, stretching from Bath weir, along Pulteney St, via the canal and the Holburne Museum before meandering through Henrietta Gardens and back to where we started. He shared his profound knowledge of Georgian Bath and pointed out a few highlights and ‘plagues’ along the way. A few of us then popped into a local hostelry!
Fantastic weather, superb smoked salmon sandwiches (thank you Kitty!), lovely friends, charming children and the garden looking green and gorgeous! A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon…
A cheeky visitor to the WI garden… and enjoying some of Jean’s rainbow chard!
The Garden Gurus had a scented stroll around the gardens and Lavender fields of the Somerset Lavender Farm, followed by lively chat over a delicious lunch.
Book club members met this July’s author, Natasha Pulley, at Toppings book shop, where she was talking about her latest book.
After the rain the sun came out over the Bath WI edible garden, showing it at its best. The sunflowers are towering over Kitty (she’s 5′ 8″ tall to give you an idea of how tall they are), the dahlias are a riot of colour, the beans are spreading their flowers in to the tree behind and we even have a marrow in the willow playpen!
August was our Summer holiday, and there was no meeting.
What Bath WI now don’t know about First Lego League isn’t worth writing about! Mandy Workman from the IET did a splendid job of educating us about the importance of STEM and the development of it within education to ensure that the UK’s requirement of engineers is met and the important part that First Lego League plays. It’s fun, educational, creative, inspirational and helps develop team building skills.
Five WI Garden Guru’s visited Hazelbury Manor Garden nr. Box. The sun shone on their ten acres of stunning private gardens. The lawn alone the size of a football pitch! We were both enchanted and inspired and felt lucky to be there with like minded garden friends.
A few of Bath WI ladies treated ourselves to a Persian cookery class today with Simi’s Kitchen – not a WI event, just that’s how we know each other. The food was amazing, the company was brilliant and we learned loads, enjoyed ourselves no end…and paid particular attention to the rice (as instructed by Simi!).
The Walkie Talkies enjoyed a lovely walk on top of Lansdown, dodging golf balls, visiting Sir Bevil Grenville’s monument and scoffing a lunch at the Blathwayt Arms. The sun even shone.
We pulled out our pens and did a little doodling at the September craft meeting. Zentangle is a lovely way to relax and we were concentrating so hard at times we forgot to talk!
October was our AGM – and sadly Jess had to step down as President, with Trish stepping in to the role. The admin was accompanied by making felt Christmas stockings to hang on the Bath WI Christmas tree in December.
Bath WI helped judge the wonderful Great Bath Scone Off; arranged by Lucy Beattie, Fundraiser and Co-ordinator at Three Ways School, Bath. What an inspiring school and beautiful new eaterie, ” 3 Café Kitchen”, with a stunning courtyard where you can relax and enjoy your meal. All the scones were delicious, and the judges had a hard job choosing the winner ! Well done Three Ways School, we’ll be back !
A happy day for the Bath WI Garden! Thanks to Tesco’s Bags of Help Scheme, IronArt of Bath’s talented craftsmen created a completely stunning Rose Arch for us. This was a big project and was possible thanks to the teamwork and friendship of all the lovely people who helped along the way.
Kitty was lucky enough to meet past Mayor, Will Sandry, admiring the new Bath WI Rose Arch; he showed her the lovely photos he had taken over the summer of our edible flowers.
4 intrepid Bath WI’ers headed off to Timsbury for the annual quiz armed with gin and tonic, wine and plenty of nibbles. The place was packed and 36 teams under took 10 rounds of questions. Despite a few instances where the answer was on the tip of their tongues they managed a respectable 9th place – well done Trish, Ruth Gabrielle and Paula.
This autumn it was the turn of Monkton Combe WI to host an evening of food and entertainment. Trish, Ruth, Hilary and Paula enjoyed lovely company, a very delicious piece of apple pie and a variety of entertaining acts. The favourite had be the sawing in half act with the evening finished off with a good old round of singing.
Our November meeting really was one to remember! We were lucky enough to have Philippe and Mark from that wonderful cheese emporium in Bath, Paxton & Whitfield (holders of 2 Royal Warrants no less!), who brought three delicious cheeses for us to sample along with delicate cheese biscuits and tasty chutney.
The sun came out for our ribbon cutting to ‘open’ the beautiful Bath WI arch – made by Ironart Ltd – in our garden within the Bath Botanical Gardens. We had an excellent turn out to celebrate this permanent structure – made possible by Tesco Bags of Help. It was also the opportunity to thank all our garden gurus for their hard work…all helped along with prosecco and smoked salmon sandwiches!
The Bath WI Garden Gurus met for their Annual Get Together. This time it was a Persian themed meal, with a very funny quiz (though I don’t think it was meant to be as funny as it turned out to be !) Gaye, our Rose Arch ribbon cutter/quiz aficionado, also read from the Flower Fairies of the Wayside to us, which was a magical moment.
A very big thank you to Waitrose Bath and all the kind people who added their green tokens to our slot in Waitrose Community Matters Scheme. Our ‘winnings’ will help fund the Bath WI Garden: canes, compost, seeds and plants – plus much much more that goes into keeping our patch happily bursting with interest.
November crafty group had a lovely time creating orange pomanders for Christmas. Just needed to let them dry, tie pretty ribbon round them et voila………
In early November Helen joined Elizabeth Mcbride as a guest at Gracehill and Galgorm WI in Northern Ireland. She had chosen her visit well as The Chocolate Manor (NI) were giving a demonstration with yummy samples!
We had a fantastic and fun fairy making workshop at VV Rouleaux – a wonderful time and we proudly took home our festive fairies.
What a wonderful Christmas meeting we had. Gorgeous food and so many lovely toiletries for the Women’s Refuge (they phoned to say how thrilled they are with our gifts). Many thanks to the Lansdown WI ukulele ladies for adding a swing to our meeting, and thanks too to the quiz writers.
Lovely Zoe at Hilliers Garden Centre ran a brilliant Christmas wreath workshop . Here we are with our creations – some of us were more successful with the 6 loop bow than others!
Our book club enjoyed cocktails at Toppings.
The end of another happy year for our lovely Bath WI Garden. June has planted bright lime/yellow celery in neat rows; the Gurus have tidied, trimmed and tied, so we look spick and span for the winter months. The Garden is ready for a well earned snooze; it has lots to dream about and happy memories of a fun year. There is still so much to enjoy; the berries, colours and shapes of trees and shrubs all around us.
At the Bath WI Christmas committee meeting it was such a nice idea to invite back past committee members. We all picked a secret Santa gift from a sack and Jess our treasurer got bank note paper serviettes! Fix!
Our Christmas collection for Julian House Women’s Refuge was really well received – together with the collection of children’s books.
It has been a wonderful year – wishing all our members and supporters an equally happy and successful 2018!