It was good to see such a good turn out on this lovely June evening. There was a warm welcome from Janis, our president, accompanied by Pam Muggleton, assistant secretary.
As our speaker was already in situ, surrounded by his wonderfully smelling products, Janis quickly went through the agenda and as all relevant correspondence and last month’s minutes were displayed on the table for members to read she covered other outstanding issues.
This included a reminder to our wonderful bakers of Party in the Park on June 12, which the parish council had organised asking us to share in the celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday, doing our usual of course, scones, cakes and tea served in the marquee. There was also a mention of the casual coffee visit to The Sun on Thursday morning, July 23, a good place to recuperate after voting and our trip on the Spirit Bus to Rothbury on July 7.
There was one very important part of our meeting when Celia Collinson, our archivist, introduced Susan Frater to the floor who wished to present to our WI a silver spoon she found in her house (when she was having a good sort out).
The spoon was presented to her grandmother, Harriet Margaret Frater, of Bilton Barnes, in 1928, a founder member of Alnmouth WI, as were all the members, 154 of them, from Mrs Scholefield, of Lintclose, now of course the Friary, who was actually the founder of our WI, in celebration of the first 10 years of the WI in the village.
It was an honour to receive this wonderful memento from Susan and it brings it home what an important organisation the Women’s Institute is, all thanks to Mrs Scholefield and the input of Susan’s grandmother and the rest of the first members. We will treasure it as we do the memories of the first stalwarts of our WI.
Chris Harrison, of Waulkmill Cider, was then more than ready to tell about his enterprise and we of course, were eager to hear.
He is based just over the Border between Langholm and Esdalemuir, a beautiful part of the country and prides himself as being the first brewer of cider in Scotland, a part of the world more known for another product.
He has obviously put a lot of research and work into his enterprise and it appears to be working out for him as he had an amazing selection of ciders. He uses Scottish apples blended with traditional cider apples to acquire the various flavours he produces.
The apples and pears he uses are, when possible, from local sources, back gardens, small orchards, even single trees. He never turn downs any offers of apples and pears all of which are hand pressed on his site, all waste going to local pig farmers. He is certainly very enterprising.
On all our tables were a couple of small bottles of cider, which we were invited to taste, which we did with great enthusiasm. The sales table seemed very popular indeed.
I forgot to mention that he also mentioned his cider vinegar, which is supposed to be an appetite depressant, that was greeted with great interest. His other flavours were equally interesting ie toffee apple, sticky ginger and blackcurrant to mention a few. He also mentioned Babycham (a drink we cut our teeth on) is becoming popular again.
After answering many questions from members, Sue Ellis, on our behalf, gave him all our thanks, especially travelling so far, for giving such an excellent presentation.
A chat and cup of tea ended our evening but not before drawing the birthday flowers, which went to Monica Atkins.
Our topic for July is Garden Design and Question Time by Sean Murray and it is a pooled supper.