Our May meeting combined two of the most famous WI pursuits – crafting and campaigning.
Over the past 100 years, the women in the WI have campaigned tirelessly on a myriad of issues - and effected real change. So it was a huge honour for the Swallowtails to participate for the first time in the selection of this year’s campaign. We were joined by our Norfolk Federation advisor, Margaret Collingwood, who talked us through the two resolutions currently on the table and gave us some pointers on how to facilitate our discussions about them.
The first resolution addresses food poverty. If this resolution is passed, the WI intends to call on the supermarkets to give surplus food to charities and therefore avoid food waste. The second resolution addresses the issue of dementia care in hospitals. We’d be asking the Government and the NHS to provide facilities to enable carers to stay with dementia patients when they are admitted in hospital. The Swallowtails talked over both resolutions and debated our concerns about each of them. Hearing the intelligent and lively views of the room was a real tonic, and demonstrated that within the Swallowtails WI we have a wealth of experience and plenty of passion about both subjects.
Once the discussions came to a close, it was time to relax – which, of course, involved tea, cake and crafting. As a new WI, we’re still finding out feet when it comes to competitions but we couldn’t resist getting involved in making fairies to enter into the Norfolk Show contest this year. Even though there was just an hour or so to get making, some magical creations were taking shape – and it looks as though some Swallowtail WI fairies might be casting spells in the mix on show day after all.
We even found time to set up two new initiatives for the Swallowtails. We’ve now got our very own film club, where cinema-loving Swallowtails will meet up to watch movies together and discuss them. There’s also going to be a dog walking meet up for members and their friends – four-legged and otherwise. The great news is that you don’t even need to have a dog to join in the fun, there will be plenty of pups to make a fuss of as we all amble along together. It’s exciting to watch our WI take shape and we can’t wait to see what new ideas spring up as we continue to grow.
At April’s meeting, we welcomed butcher Paul Graves and his wife Nicky as our speakers, having heard wonderful things about the talks they’d given to other WIs. Happily, they didn’t disappoint. They arrived with trays upon trays of pork, lamb, chicken and beef, bringing Graves Butchers to life in our humble cricket pavilion – and delivered a masterclass in butchery.
Of course, where huge carcases and knives that sharp are concerned, we all felt safer leaving the butchery to the experts. But Paul was armed with some brilliant tips for the home cook, taking us through how to prepare different types of meat and teaching us some excellent tricks of the trade. For some, the idea of a talk from a butcher might seem a tad dull, these people have never met Paul and Nicky. We heard the history of this family business and how important food miles and being part of the Norfolk food community is for HV Graves. The combination of Paul's stories and cheek, coupled with long-suffering Nicky’s sarcastic asides were hilarious, and plenty of laughs were had by all.
But the best moment was when Swallowtails president Claire closed the meeting so that we could rush forward to buy from the magnificent meat selection. Since then we’ve been swapping tales of the delicious meals we made, and planning to take Paul and Vicky up on their invitation to go and take a tour of their farm. We’ve heard from our sources at the Thorpe WI that it’s a day out to remember.
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