This month the Swallowtail WI had a meeting about personal safety, it seemed like perfect timing with everything that has happened in the world recently. Police Community Support Officer Steven Downs came to talk to us about ways to protect ourselves. He is part of the local policing team for Sprowston and he shared ideas on ways to stay safe, not just when we’re out and about but also when we’re at home.
A lot of the suggestions were simple common sense, like always locking your front door when you get home and not leaving your handbag on the floor by the door. For anyone worried about unexplained noises at night he said to take your mobile phone to bed with you and call the police if you’re worried that someone has broken in.
The members shared their experiences and we discussed everything from cyclists on footpaths to precautions when using the internet. The main advice was to be aware at all times.
I had just come back from a weekend in London and after all the news reports I was very aware of everyone around me. I was nervous at first but the thing I became most aware of was the kindness of strangers. I have ME and use a wheelchair to get about and people couldn’t have been kinder. From the taxi drivers, to the hotel and restaurant staff and the ushers at the theatre, they all went out of their way to help.
I was worried before I travelled how the tragedies would have affected London, but the sense of community and strength I associate with Britain was out in force. It reminded me that there are lots of amazing people and it gave me hope that there is more good in the world than bad. You just have to be aware and you’ll see it all around you.
WI events are like buses and I’ve been busy. First with the Lonely Bouquet Project at the beginning of May. The WI collaborated with the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies to spread a little joy. They encouraged members to make small bouquets of flowers and leave them for random strangers to find. I made a few small posies and had fun leaving them on the top of post boxes and by bus stops for people to discover and hopefully cheer them up. They were tagged with details of the Swallowtail WI so we might even get some new members.
I was invited to a Presidents Reception at Federation Office, one of a number of events this year to bring together the presidents of the hundred and sixty six WIs in Norfolk. I went to a cheese and wine tasting evening and it was great to meet other presidents and discuss the trials and challenges we and our WIs face. I was amazed at just how many things we had in common, from the older established WIs to the newer ones like the Swallowtails, no matter how large or small our memberships , we all had similar experiences. It helped to realise that you weren’t alone and to get tips from people who had “been there and done that”. I was reminded that we all have far more in common than we realise. I enjoyed the evening immensely and hope it will become a regular feature.
Out of ten teams the Swallowtails came third and fourth. My team didn’t do so well. Our jigsaw of a horse rider going over a jump had so many shades of green that my eyes started to blur. Some people gave up after two hours but I refused to leave until our jigsaw was finished. In true WI spirit lots of other teams came to help and I triumphantly put the last piece in place, just half an hour over time.
EDP WI Week for 27th May 2017 - Claire Wade
Get the inside scoop on the life of a WI member.