Overstrand Women's institute
February 2022 Meeting Report
This being our penultimate meeting, it was somewhat bitter sweet and attended by our WI adviser, a county official who had to attend to wield the metaphorical axe. This will bring to an end our WI which was formed in 1983 leaving our remaining members with many memories of happy times and lasting friendships formed. The last few years has seen our membership numbers dwindle to the point where we are unviable. This has been a result of various factors, none of which were under our control.
This meeting was however not all doom and gloom as one of our members gave us a truly fascinating insight into the workings of the Foreign Office. She told us many interesting facts gleaned from her years “in post” when she worked as Social Secretary to Douglas Hurd. Though she admitted the job was a demanding one, she loved it and most of what it entailed. By all accounts he was a nice person to work for with a good sense of humour. Her tasks included arranging guest lists and menus for official banquets where this part of government machinery had to run smoothly. Floral arrangements were white and the four butlers were gay and good fun. The food selection needed to be substantial but easy to eat so that Douglas could eat and talk. One particular guest, Nelson Mandela, insisted on going to thank the chefs in person, a request which was unique but complied with. We were also told that the cellars were well stocked and located under Whitehall.
Following these fly on the wall observations we enjoyed a tea break enhanced by a trio of home made cakes.
The formalities of our impending closure were then explained by our WIA and this will happen on March the 31st 2022. Before then though we will enjoy afternoon tea at the Sea Marge Hotel a few days before our final meeting on March 16th 2022 which will see us having a nostalgic last look through our scrap books complied over the years.
January 2022 Meeting Report
Though very small in membership, those who came - including a visitor, very new to the village - had a most interesting afternoon. We had been asked to bring an item of clothing which held a special significance and tell the rest of us why this was the case. Sat around 4 tables pushed together we were able easily to see and hear every detail. It was nicely informant – but also intimate. The items were as individual as the people who brought them along. Amongst them, a cashmere scarf, a fox-fur hat, a small sparkly evening bag, a special cardigan and a dainty little white glove which had connected with the glove worn by our Queen! We also saw a riotously patterned pair of long trousers, as well as two wedding dresses - neither particularly conventional and both distinctly different in appearance, though the fabric was a similar shade of lemon. One was long and elegant with short sleeves, whilst the other, entirely stitched by hand, was long-sleeved but short. It was, when made, the 1960’s and was made from a fabric remnant- not a very big one either!
Following a refreshment break when a lovely variety of home made cakes were consumed with our tea, the business part of the meeting took place. This did not take long as there were only a small amount of things to be dealt with.
We were informed that our area adviser will attend our February meeting to deal with the formality of closing us down.
All rather sad, though an inevitable end to our personal W.I. era.
November 2021 Meeting Report
Two for the price of one!
The ordinary meeting took place first and there was very little business to be dealt with. As our president had given her apologies, our vice president substituted. Minutes of the October meeting were circulated and plans for our Christmas meal - this time at Sea Marge Hotel - were finalized.
Plans for our December meeting on Wednesday 8th at 2.30 in the Parish Hall have a suitably festive flavour, with a table decoration (in a soup bowl), being the favourite subject of one of our members, who will patiently show us how it’s done. Refreshments of mince pies and mulled wine will follow. Drivers will have a zero alcohol alternative.
All remaining members were asked to bring a festive item to be given to the Cromer food bank to give a little cheer to those in need. They were gently reminded to bring a suitably wrapped item of around £5 in value when attending the Christmas meal, for the Secret Santa Sack.
Then at the annual meeting our secretary gave us a concise precis of our previous year’s speakers, necessarily truncated by the pandemic. In this case though, less, was more paradoxically! These few meetings were fascinating . It was with sadness, the remaining members present, unanimously concluded that our W.I. was very likely to close at the end of March 2022. It seemed that carrying on beyond that point was unviable. As a W.I .since 1983, we have enjoyed some very good times which will live on in our memories. Before we got to maudlin, we luxuriated in member made refreshments of carrot cake and a delectable iced chocolate concoction, washed down with a cuppa.
Speakers for January, February and March were un-necessary as it was proposed to do it inhouse. We may number few, but we are still resourceful!!