In September Steve Packard from Burstall gave us a very informative talk about "Green Energy". He explained that besides wind turbines in the sea there are plenty of other ways of making Electricity. Steve designs equipment, firstly in miniature then on a larger scale to test in the sea. He said that as a country we have to find alternative ways of producing electricity or we could be going back to candles.
Also in September Ann Day and I went by coach organized by Suffolk East WI to the BBC in Portland Place, London. We went on a very entertaining and informative 1.5 hour tour. We saw the new state of the art newsroom and we had the chance to try our hand at reading the news and weather on their interactive news set. We went into "The One Show" studio where they explained how the programme is put together and we were able to sit on the famous green sofa. Next we saw where the BBC Radio Drama is made and then lastly shown the newly restored Radio Theatre where the Radio 2 concerts are produced.
The August meeting was a ramble around the Somersham area visiting Nettlestead and its charming church, concluding at the Duke of Marlborough
Eight ladies and a gentleman set out, rainwear was the order of the evening but luckily there was only a short shower
A well deserved drink rounded off a pleasant evening organised by Bina and Lesley.
July's programme announcement informed us that: Janet Dann will perform readings to suit all tastes. And shecertainly did. Inspiring Women was her theme and she presented a selection of poetry and prose, from Elizabeth I through to Edith Cavell and Pam Ayres. Janet is a trained and experienced actress and voice coach so her delivery, including appropriate accents, was excellent. It was an enjoyable and satisfying evening, finished with a word game and the usual cuppa.
The June meeting was a very sociable affair to which we welcomed visitors from the village, from WI's and several men.
As we sat down with our glasses of wine, the main attraction was a talk by Jason Salisbury on Suffolk Farmhouse Cheeses. He has more than 20 years experience in the dairy industry and in 2004 he, along with his wife Katherine (a qualified vet), set up the business at Whitegate Farm near Needham Market. They have a herd of Guernseys which Jason looks after, while Katherine is in charge of the cheese-making. He told an amazing story of hard work and enterprise which has resulted in their flourishing business producing three delicious cheeses, which we were able to sample. They also sell milk and ice-cream (made locally from the milk) in their farm shop. The milk and cheeses which he offered for sale were quickly snapped up! The evening was rounded off with a "cheesy' quiz and cheese refreshments.
Each year the Federation of Suffolk East WI's has a large marquee at the Suffolk Show that not only serves WI style homemade refreshments but also displays the results of the annual inter-institute craft and flower arranging competitions - a showcase of WI members skills and talents. Every year the WI show committee has to come up with a new competition theme and this years was particularly novel. All the entries were to fulfil the needs of particular charities and there was no limit to the number of items each institute could produce. Burstall WI members took up the challenge with enthusiasm and below are pictured the results of their labours; a comfort quilt for Project Linus a charity that supports sick and traumatised children, knitwear for The Mission to Seamen, heart shaped cushions for Breast Care Patients and homemade bags filled with toiletries for the Lighthouse Women's Refuge.
Two items were entered for judging and Anna gained full marks for her beautifully crafted patchwork cushion.
May always brings with it the serious business of discussing the resolutions that will be presented at the national federation annual meeting. We were asked to give our support to a WI effort to increase organ donations, by raising awareness among members, families, and friends. After a thorough discussion we unanimously supported the motion, and will instruct the delegate to vote accordingly. That done, we turned to some light entertainment by trying out Boccia (an indoor, soft-ball form of boules), accompanied by tea/doffee and chat.
Burstall was host to the SEFWI Group 5 (Millbrook) annual meeting. There was a large audience of 56 people, made up of members from Bramford, Claydon, Barham and Burstall, plus visitors and menfolk welcomed Matthew Tanton Brown, who is a horticulturalist, manager of the plant center at The Place for Plants at East Bergholt, and is well known for his contributions to local press and radio. He had a veritable 'plant centre' with him on the stage and used these to illustrate his topic, Plants for Problem Places.
He described them in categories for certain areas: hot and dry, dry shade, damp shade, containers, and heavy clay. All of this was engagingly illustrated with stories and amusing asides - a very entertaining way to get us all out planting. He later answered questions, most of them while we were all enjoying tasty refreshments provided by Burstall WI. There was also an informal quiz on flower names.
At the April meetnig, Enid Castle, a Burstall Show judge, gave members advice about entering preserves and bakery in village shows. It was helpful to be reminded about the process of making quality preserves and the necessity for using appropriate jars, lids, and labels. We were fascinated by a jar of gooseberries that had been perfectly bottled 15 years ago which were still in surprisingly good condition. Enid had crystallised and strung orange peel for us to try and we agreed it was a much better flavour than the supermarket variety. We were also interested in her traditional Suffolk rusks, as so often they are a show class and it is difficult to find a recipe. Hopefully Enid's help will encourage more members to bite the bullet and enter this year's Burstall Show.
Chris Miller of the Suffolk Punch Trust presented an illustrated talk entitled A Suffolk Icon - The Suffolk Punch. He spoke about the history of Hollesley Bay Colony, how it was set up to provide agricultural training then became a borstal and finally an open prison. Suffolk Punch heave horses were an integral part of it, with the boys at the borstal caring for them and using them as part of their agricultural training. More recently, the Hollesley Bay Colony Stud became the responsibility of an idependent charity, the Suffolk Punchg Trust. Now the colony offers a visitors' centre (open April to end of October) with a heritage museum, vintage farming equipment, cafe, and of course the chance to meet the horses and other rare Suffolk breeds. Find out more at www.suffolkpunchtrust.org.
Members were challenged to create a tied bouquet from supermarket flowers and additions from our gardens, with guidance from Ann Burchnall. We also had an opportunity to try kurling, arranged by SEFWI in Burstall VillageHall. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, though we were a little disappointed to find there were no brushes ! There will be another chance to try kurling at the May meeting.