This will be my last WI post for the foreseeable future as National Federation have advised no more meetings for a while - to protect all members and speakers- many are elderly.
I hope they (NFWI) decide to let us off some of next years membership subscription to make up for all the meetings we will miss!
Big WI don't meet in January and Small WI just watched an old film (not my idea of what a WI meeting should be). Then in February I was looking after Willow one evening and later in the month extremely tired so missed those meetings too. Finally got to both meetings this month.............
Big WI had Edwina Hughes from Norfolk who came to tell us about dyeing using natural materials. She had become interested in this several years ago and decided to finish working and go to Art College in Norwich to learn more about textiles, dyeing and print.
She told us how dyes can vary even using the same materials. Depending on time of year they are picked and even what side of the tree leaves come from. There are also big variations dyeing wool, cotton or silk and the mordant (Fixing the dye) can be alum, copper or rhubarb which also changes the end colour.
She had sample books from her college days showing all these differences. She told us about all sorts of things used for dyeing in the past and how if scraps of material are found in archaeological excavations it is often now possible to find out what plant was used to dye the material.
She has been invited to take part in Agricultural shows where they show how wool goes from sheep to clothes....all in one day........... which she says will be an interesting experience.
When her brother died two years ago she planned to sell up their family farm but has decided to start a new venture on some of the fields growing dye plants and drying and packing them to sell.
Next day I searched my shelves for an old book about Natural Dyeing which I knew I had so I could read more but then remembered I had sent it off to another blogger - although I can't remember who?
At first glance Small WI's meeting sounded boring. A speaker (not sure of his name as it was Latvian, although he was born in this country) talking about the life and poetry of Rudyard Kipling. But I know from past experience it's often more about the speaker than the subject. The man had been a teacher before retiring and got interested in Kipling many years ago, he has given this talk lots of times so was able to speak for 45 minutes without um-ing and eh-ing at all. Far from being boring it was very interesting.
All I knew about Kipling was The Jungle Book (much used in Cub-Scouting) the poem IF which was once voted The Nation's Favourite poem and the fact that he had many famous friends and relatives.
But he was an interesting person. Very well traveled and VERY prolific,as a journalist he turned out articles, short stories, longer novels and poems by the dozen every year. At one time, while in Africa his bank failed and he lost all his money but later, back in the UK he became very rich and was able to afford £9,000 back in the 1902 to buy the house Batemans in Sussex - now a National Trust property.
During the first world war, he used his influence to get his son into the army - despite his son being turned down because of poor eyesight. When John was killed after just 2 days of battle Kipling blamed himself and never really recovered from it.
The speaker made us smile when he said that after talking to one WI one of the members said "what a shame my husband can't be here as he is an expert on Kipling". The speaker said he was glad the husband wasn't there as he doesn't claim to be an expert - just interested and admiring of Kipling's poetry and life - he said knowing there was an expert in the audience would have terrified him!
No WI and no East Suffolk WI quiz next month which is a shame as they are good fun, no swimming, no church visiting, no boot sales, and I'm worried about running out of ideas for blog posts. They'll end up all being books-I've-read posts!
But I will keep blogging, it's something we can do to connect with other people without risk.
So Definitely Back Tomorrow