Although we do not have a meeting in August, there is always something for WI members to get involved in during the summer. This year we had a most enjoyable private tour of Haddon Hall (excellent scones in the tea room), a paper-crafting session and a jelly tea, where a very interesting illustrated talk about Victoria dessert-moulds was followed by tea and a wide selection of delicious home-made puddings.
Supporting village life is what makes the Institute a core part of village life. Each member contributed an embellished square to the Institute quilt, which Diane Marriott, Annette Styne and Pauline Giles put together for exhibition at the “Airing of Quilts” at St Mary's Church. Other members either exhibited quilted items or helped with stewarding and refreshments.
The Village Gala is an opportunity to showcase some of the traditional skills always associated with the WI, and members entered many of the different classes. The Institute sponsored the craft classes, and Annette Styne won the Angie Gillespie Trophy for most points in the arts and crafts section. Angie, also a member of the Institute, swept the board in the horticultural section, and Sue Fraser won the Molson Coors Shield for the most points in the home economics section. There were many other winners of individual classes.
Over the coming few months, apart from a line-up of interesting speakers and our regular Scrabble afternoons, there will be a workshop to create jewellery from glass, a visit to Cineworld to see a live relay of Carmen, a trip to Chatsworth and its Christmas Market, a Christmas lunch and a shopping trip to Trentham Gardens.
After Christmas we will be looking at how we can celebrate the WI Centenary in some style, and there are all sorts of interesting ideas being discussed. If any of this whets your appetite, you would be more than welcome at Rolleston Club at 9.45 am on the third Friday of each month. Details of each meeting can be found on village notice-boards.
We began the July meeting with a few moments of silence to remember Grace Rheam, a long-standing and very active member of the Institute who will be sadly missed, especially by the Scrabble players.
You may have seen the various displays by members of both village WIs at the 'Love Rolleston' weekend, which showcased the things we do, and there will be more to see at the Gala and September's 'Airing of Quilts', as members keep alive the old craft skills and discover new ones: we recently paid a return visit to a hat-making workshop, and glass jewellery making is coming up.
Our speakers continue to be most informative and entertaining. In May we heard about 'A Saint, Some Madness and Three Dodgy Candles', and members will be glad to know that the speaker has found her own Certificate of Madness - in the attic where she'd left it! June saw the return of Caroline Bailey, who told us about her life after service with the West Midlands police, as she developed an interest in decorative glass and established her own studio. In July Nigel from Bittersweet Chocolates at Breedon-on-the-Hill gave us a gallop through the history and processes of chocolate consumption, liberally illustrated with samples to taste.
We celebrated our 25th anniversary in July with a birthday tea party, including entertainment from the joint WI choir. Members also went to the National Memorial Arboretum to see the handover from Derbyshire Federation to Staffordshire of the national Federation's WI Centenary Baton, and the next day our local group of WIs held a cream tea reception (what else?) for it at the National Brewing Museum. We have also agreed to join with Rolleston WI in donating (and promising to help water every day for six months!) a young walnut tree to the village, to commemorate the WI's centenary next year.
Our next meeting is on September 19th, and it has a gardening theme. You would be most welcome to join us at 9.45 at the Rolleston Club, or on the third Friday of the following months. Details on the village noticeboards.
2014 began sadly for the Institute with the recent loss of two members, Jenny Mumford and Ann Haywood; we will miss them both.
Our speaker in February was Alan Murray-Rust, who gave a fascinating account of the history of the Victorian Clay Mills pumping station; it transpired that several members had connections with it both when it was operational and as a national heritage project. We were also treated to a parade of hats, worn by the members who had made them at a hat workshop, and many of the rest of us now wish we had gone too!
March always brings the AGM, and the various reports described a lively, thriving Institute, offering many opportunities for outings and activities - both for learning and just to have fun. There also seems to be a marked fondness for cream teas. After approving the records and appointing a new committee, we heard from Paul Newsome, a retired senior forensic expert, who talked about chemicals in forensic science.
April is the month for the annual Rose Bowl competition, and this year it was for a craft item in any medium to celebrate our 25th anniversary; Annette Styne won with an embroidered greetings card. Kate Goldsmith won the annual award for the highest average score in our monthly Scrabble games. Then we listened to Geoff Dryland, an ex-RAF and retired civilian pilot, as he told us of the chain of coincidences (or were they?) which led him to find both the last resting place of his uncle, and the site where his Spitfire had crashed, during the last war.
We are now looking forward to getting involved in 'Love Rolleston', and after a shopping trip to craft shops in Matlock and Darley Dale we have begun work on our contribution to September's 'Airing of Quilts'.
As well as the outings and activities offered by the Institute and the Staffordshire Federation, celebrations are being planned for the centenary of the foundation of the WI. A commemorative baton is being relayed around the UK, to arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for the 2015 AGM. It will be passed form Derbyshire to Staffordshire on July 25th at the National Memorial Arboretum, and it will be received by our group of WIs at St. George's Park the next day, where we will celebrate with a cream tea - what else?
If you would like to join a friendly and active group you would be made most welcome. Meetings are held at Rolleston Club on the third Friday of the month at 9.45am – details are on village notice-boards.
We started Christmas early - our November speaker was the most engaging Dr. Michael Jones, a botanist passionate about mistletoe. The December meeting began with a glass of mulled wine and some spicy biscuits (glogg and pepparkakor) organised by Eva Nelson, our Swedish member. Our speaker Helen Chambers assumed the role of an Elizabethan housewife as she described Christmas in those days, complete with artefacts and music, and we also enjoyed mince pies from Ann Foster and Elspeth Dickinson, a tough quiz and the Secret Santa competition. In January we closed the festivities with Gill Pyne's demanding quiz.
Besides meetings members have been able to play Scrabble and sign up for visits to relays of the Royal Ballet's 'Giselle' and the National Theatre's 'Warhorse' at Burton Cineworld. A hat workshop in February and a ribbon bag workshop in March should satisfy the crafters, and in May there is a cream tea at Tutbury Castle with a talk from Lesley Smith on' Sex and the Tudors'. Belonging to a W.I.in the Staffordshire Federation also means more opportunities for activities like these, organised by the County for all local W.I. members.
2014 is the 25th birthday of the Institute; as the W.I. Year and the calendar year overlap, technically we can celebrate for 15 months! On Thursday July 10th we are having a summer tea party, which will not be entirely sedate, and the November meeting will also include some festivities. The full programme for the new W.I. year will not be published until March, but it will include talks entitled 'A saint, some madness and three dodgy candles' and 'Ghosts in the cockpit', and there will be meetings about chocolate (including tasting!), Russia, and the Bayeaux Tapestry. Members will also be involved in May's 'Love Rolleston' event, especially the well-dressing.
There is always lots going on, and we welcome visitors and prospective new members. We meet at Rolleston Club at 9.45am on the third Friday of the month (though the April 2014 meeting will be a week earlier, on Friday April 11th, because of Easter). For more information see the village noticeboards.
Last updated: 2 February 2015