Alnmouth WI, June meeting

Judi Hill holds onto her hat at a garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the WI centenary.
Judi Hill holds onto her hat at a garden party at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the WI centenary.

Not exactly flaming June, in fact it was a wild night outside the hall on Monday more in keeping with the depth of winter, but we Alnmouth WI stalwarts made it in spite of the howling gale.

Janis welcomed us warmly and started the meeting by giving us details of our Denman Bursary, for 2016 – the lucky winner being the member whose name will be drawn out of the hat and although no date was given when this will occur, we await in great anticipation with fingers crossed.

As it is time to think of next year’s resolution, Janis, our president, suggests if we have any burning issues, we should think about submitting one in the form of a resolution to be considered for the 2016 annual meeting at the Albert Hall.

It was a big week for the NFWI as it is the 100th annual celebration of the formation of our organisation and on Thursday the Albert Hall was full of WI members from all over England and Wales and as well as the Queen, our delegate Janis Crook was there, representing our local group of Wis.

A group of us were also watching keenly from the Pilgrim Street Cinema, Newcastle, where it was streamed, to catch a glimpse of this very exciting day.

Yvonne, our secretary, then went through all up and coming invitations and events including a reminder of our theatre trip in July and our outing to Bowes Museum in August.

After covering most outstanding matters, she introduced our speaker, Dr Chris Harrison.

Chris was already set up for her demonstration and talk on the History of Making Paper. So, after her introduction, she began her talk on how she came upon this fascinating subject.

It has quite a history going back to 105 AD in China and it took another 700 years before it slowly appeared in the outside world through the Silk Road route and another 100 years before appearing in Europe. Now we just take it for granted.

It’s an amazing story, telling us the history of how it eventually came to our shores before giving us a demonstration and then allowing us to have a go.

It all seems so simple, especially when you are told how to do it, as it appears all sorts of ingredients can be used, ie leaves, flowers, old material, even denim from jeans. Chris even gave us the recipe as she was demonstrating which, after asking her permission, I roughly give you as follows: Quite a large container filled with water, put some paper table napkins in a blender, pulp together with leaves or flowers, add to the water and give it a good swish around, scoop out into a ‘mould deckle’, which is a very fine sieve, turn out onto a cloth and put weighted newspapers on top to get the water out and hang out to dry and hey presto, you’ve made some paper.

If you haven’t (sorry) and really want to know how, I believe Chris is at the Alnmouth Arts Festival and I’m sure she will show you the correct method.

Janis gave the vote of thanks, on our behalf, for an excellent presentation and before facing the horrendous weather, we sustained ourselves with delicious scones made by members of the committee.

Our July speaker is Giles Hodges and his subject is Antiques and 20th Century Collectibles. Mr Hodges, requests we bring an antique for valuation if possible, so that is something to look forward to.