David gave us a fantastic talk about the history of chocolate which was first made four and a half thousand years ago. It was thought then to have special powers and was used as currency
David told us about the process used for making it and then did some tasting with us. For those of us who love chocolate it was a fantastic evening. David made ganache and also had lots of ready made goodies for us to take home with us
Two of our members gave short talks about the courses they had attended which were funded through our bursaries. Sakina attended a two day willow weaving workshop at Creative with Nature and Fliss had been to Denman for a course on modern calligraphy
Another fantastic night with Ade from Drum Machine. We certainly did bang our drums! It’s amazing the sound that comes out from a group of enthusiastic women, even if some of us did struggle to keep in time. Ade explained about different rhythms and how they vary in different cultures and that in itself was fascinating. I think everyone would agree about it being a good night and it was rounded off with the usual cake and refreshments
Our party started with a short history of beer making. Apparently women were the first people to brew beer! We then learned about the different ingredients that are used and how these can alter the taste of the beer. Then followed some tasting!
There were several different beers to try, and even those of us who didn’t normally like or drink beer found something that we liked
Our evening was completed with some food brought in by a local Tibetan restaurant. It was delicious The party was a big success with our members.
Julie Hodgins came to talk to us about breast awareness. Though some of our members were concerned that the focus of the talk would be about cancer and cause alarm, they couldn’t have been more wrong! the talk was full of positive messages.
Julie talked about the importance of screening and how early detection of problems, makes a big difference to outcomes and survival rates. She also told us how to reduce risk factors.
Her good news messages were that there are very good survival rates following detection of problems and the rates continue to improve.
She described the different pathways for breast imaging, explaining that one pathway is for well women and another for women with problems.
We also had the opportunity to practice detecting breast lumps on her teaching aids! Overall, it was an excellent evening, which included laughter and of course, cake!
What a good evening this was! There was plate spinning, balancing, hoola hooping and all other sorts of activities. There was something for everyone and some members excelled at the hoola hooping! Fun, laughter and learning new skills with friends! What our WI is all about!
Alison and Mike Mitchell came to talk to us about their passion for plants and the development of their nursery and business
Mike started this about 34 years ago after college, where he studied horticulture. He has built it up gradually with the help of Alison.
He specialises in some varieties of alpine plants including Saxifrages, Hepaticas and Oxalis. They have won gold medals at Harrogate Show and other prestigious awards at places such as the RHS show at Tatton Park.
In 2016 he appeared on Gardner’s World on the BBC and he has lots of visitors to his nursery and garden during the open season. He also does restoration projects from time to time
The talk was accompanied by lovely slides of the plants, the sale of plants to some of our members and a question and answer session.
David Bell has had an interest in tortoises since he was a boy. He came, along with his wife Pam to tell us all about them. His talk was absolutely fascinating.
David is a licensed breeder and has years of experience plus the knowledge required (obtained by undertaking an on-line course with the Tortoise Trust), to talk for hours about the husbandry of tortoises.
He undertakes rescue work for the Tortoise Trust and had many stories to tell us about his experiences.
He informed us of many things:
They have existed on our planet longer than dinosaurs! There are 400 different species and all except one are endangered. They have been lost in the past through lack of knowledge and care but with the correct care should live to 100-150 years. Laws were introduced to protect them and they can no longer be imported illegally. All tortoises have to be certificated when they are sold.
They are ruminants and different breeds require different kinds of food. They need large amounts of calcium and over 5 hours of sunlight per day. They lay eggs and the sex of the offspring is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are kept. They can dig and climb and the information relating to their hibernation was fascinating
It was an absolutely wonderful evening and we met 4 of David’s many tortoises. We could have listened for a lot longer and David could probably have continued to tell us stories and facts all evening.
It is easy to understand now why so many of us had tortoises as children who did not survive for very long!