Bring a friend and your designated food dish for us all to enjoy. Don't forget your own drink and one Christmas card.
20th January 7.30 - SHELTER BOX - Family survival Aid with David Hatcher
17 February - PANCAKE RACE. 2pm Cardwell Pavilion - all ages all abilities.Local School and other WI's.
7.30 How to access Kent Local History
with Mark Bateson. OPEN EVENING

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

100 years of WI - Baton in Kent.

 IS CELEBRATING ITS 100TH YEAR with many events.
A Baton containing pictures from each county has been moving around the country, beginning in Anglesey where the first ever Institute was formed.    There are 54 English Counties and 13 Welsh Counties, and the baton is well on its way to Cornwall the last County. 
This week, the Baton was handed from Essex to West Kent, traveling by Lifeboat, and is in West Kent for a week.  Today an exhibit was staged in The Mall Maidstone, for all to see, 
with Members of the executive committee in attendance.

Margaret Weaver of Hollingbourne WI had the to chance to see it first hand.  The photographs inside on a memory stick, represent evocative places in Kent.   The baton was also taken along to the North Downs District WI's Christmas Carol Service where each Institute had its Christmas Tree
They were supposed to be no bigger than 2 foot, (though some were)  ours however was a delicate one foot specimen, made of crochet by Sue Weightman  a member with talent!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Art and Craft Ditton

West Kent Federation finds amazing speakers for this annual event, and today was no exception.
We 6 from Hollingbourne managed to grab seats in the front row, and our first speaker 
Fred Lamont told us all about the Flemish Weavers in Kent. 
They had emigrated to Britain  in 1100's and were far superior in the methods they used and they cloth they made to our own british weavers though our wood was the best in Europe.     However  time came when their religion did not fit the protestant religion of Britain and they moved off to Scotland and Wales.  However Britain in 1337 called them all back when it realised that our wool was being exported with high taxes  and then the finished cloth had to be imported again at hight taxes.  The Flemish Weavers would get our balance of payments on the level again! We were growing the wool, weaving the cloth and exporting it.   They were given the 'Kings protection anywhere in Britain, and were told that their daughters could be married to the highest in the land.     All over Kent Flemish Weavers set up their looms, (Wide looms) making Broadcloth. to a strict specification.   The areas used were clearings in the vast woodland, and these were given names starting or ending in DEN or HURST.  Except for Cranbrook which was the largest Weaving town, and very rich.   There were 30,000 people living in the area and 26,000 of them worked in the Weaving and allied trades.  .

As well as the weaving, the finished cloth had to be 'FILLED, enormous hammers, run by water mills hammered down on the cloth to make it smooth.  FULLERS EARTH was used in this process, coming from between Hollingbourne and Leeds.   There were 13 of these filling mills on the Loose river. 
Silk weaving also started in Canterbury and you can still see the Weavers House, next to the river. 
However all things come to an end, and Queen Elizabeth in 1500's had a problem. We were having to pay enormous export taxes, and it was decided to impose taxes on the importing countries (a bit like Russia today and the sanctions we are imposing) As a result  no one wanted our  cloth - recession!
The flemish weavers were not dismayed and  though it took time, they set up other businesses in Britain instead, and flourished.    
NOTE - DNA investigations recently have found that a large part of our population is descended from Flemish People
It was so interesting and Fred Lamont was a clear and unhurried speaker,later our Members had time to chat with him, and Hilary Lucette advised him that her forebears were Huganots who had come to Britian during the period he talked of. 

 Rebecca was a joy to listen to, her subject interesting and unusual, and her diction was imaccculate.
We followed her career from  A level student to the Present day. The main medium she works in is metal using all kind of hand and electric machines to assist her.  She showed examples  - one being an enormous  'COBWEB' built high in the trees as a commission for Frank Williams (racing cars) in his garden. Although we saw a picture we are unlikely to see the actual work unfortunately.
She also told us about the times she had been in Nepal and the inspiration she had obtained from the circular movement of the saris worn by the ladies, who seemed to do everything while their men did little.  This statue is a combination of a tree shape and a lady in a sari.
One period in Nepal was working at the Esther Benjamin Trust, where they rescue young Nepali women who had been sold by their parents into India and  suffered degradation of every kind. They had been trafficked and had no confidence or feeling of self worth. At the trust she taught them various forms of Art and craft to enable them to support themselves and was so happy with the change they were able to undergo. 

She then went on to her current project.  She has been commissioned by the Gurka Regiment to sculpt a Gurka in Afganistan battle dress, carrying his rifle.  It will commemorate 200 years of the Gurkas.  The statue will be 6 foot tall, and on a 6 foot plinth. It will be sited in Folkestone in about three months time.  The picture above shows her working on the statue which will then be cast in a metal which hopefully will cope with the onslaught of the sea air, and the local seagulls.   This is a very brief note of her work, and an internet search of Rebecca Hawkins will prove very interesting.


 Lucy's career has taken many turns, on leaving Art School she realised that what she had learned would not really keep her in a steady income and she went back to the needlework she had learned from her mother and grandmother,  but she was soon 'discovered' and she has worked with Jean Muir for many years, designing the 'extras'  - embellishments that are found on the  Jean Muir collections.   She has also developed quirky types of waistcoats. - see above and below.  Each piece being unique and made to the owner's specifications.
 Below is a coat which had to be made of extremely light fabric as the owner had a skin complaint, but needed something special to wear for an important event.

Lucy like Rebecca  had found time to visit (on a continuing basis) the far east spending time in Jaipur India where she works with ANOKI,  a company which produces fabric, designs, and embroidery using local talented women.  This is a two way project with both Lucy and the local women benefitting from this arrangement.

She also told us about WONDERFUL WORKSHOPS - In Jaipur, India- a bit far for a craft outing, but there may be one or two Inspired WI women, who following her talk, enrol and discover a new world out there. 

Apart from these three magnificent speakers, there were craft stalls and details of new projects ahead, we are so lucky  to be able to attend such events in a local venue. 

Friday, 31 October 2014



 Deep in the countryside of Paddock Wood, two members spent a gloriously sunny morning learning the skill of clay pigeon shooting, with members from other WI's.  We moved around different stands where the clay pigeons were thrown up in a variety of trajectories, such as that of Skeet, Pigeon, Rabbit etc.  We had five shots with the 20 bore shot gun for each target before moving on.
The Instructor was patient and persistent, ensuring that we all hit some targets.
As you can see Val is in control of the gun (broken) and it is rumoured that she was the best shot.

PETANQUE  - watch out,  our members mean business. 

 What better place to learn to play Petanque than at Istead Rise Petanque club on 1st September when Joyce Janice, Christine and Val joined 28 other WI members at a West Kent Federation event.  We were told about the history of the game and the rules.  We were divided into teams of 3 to play very competitively.  Tactics being the name of the game! We played all day and finished the afternoon with a mini tournament.  Istead Rise club were very patient and encouraging and even made cakes for our break assuming that we would only eat home made refreshments!

Not just tactics, but CONCENTRATION   from Janice. 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Safari Market 2014 - New Pop Up stalls

Our 6th Year and around 45 sites, with lots of new stall holders popping up. 
Two prizes this year, 
1.   - Lucky Map was won by Mr & Mrs Ballard of Roseacre Lane Bearsted.

2. -  The people who won the prize for the most stalls  visited, were Mr & Mrs Strover of Ashford.
On fact 17 people visited all the stalls and handed in their answer paper
and the Lucky winner was drawn from these 17.

Having lived in the village for nearly 30 years, I had never visited  this house before.

 This leafy garden is right on the main road through Hollingbourne!

 The Ralph grandchildren  had decided it was time to  'cash in'  on their toys.
 Kim - deciding whether to carry on selling, or just dump it all in the skip
 Detling WI CAKE STALL was new this year and a great success, it was completely full to overflowing at the start, and at 11.30 all but sold out - lets hope  they will be with us next year. 
 Teas and Coffees flowed all day, - with of course the hot bacon and sausage rolls in great demand

 The Bellringers had a stall to make money for a new Hollingbourne Church bell. 
Bill was practicing for the RIDE AND STRIDE - on 13th September - see the yellow notice in the background  - a' round the parishes' sponsored walk and bike ride.
 Another new spot, with plenty of exercise equipment, and a  wood shredder for sale. 

We all know that some peoples' trash becomes other peoples treasure trove. This stall however was  a 'cut above' with classical  and Operatic C.D's  & DVD's all set out in an easily accessed way.  

Walking from the playing field to the church was a country  stroll through the woods. 
There were UGLY things to see - with two and one eyed mini monsters and all kinds of cuddly and original  things on the stall on Muskett Green. 
and finally a most beautiful stall, with streamers flying high above it, to entice buyers in . 

All in all a most enjoyable, successful and busy day.   The Playing field was packed with  far more cars than in other years, and we thank  Alan Smedley  of The Meadows Trust who ably assisted with the parking.  All morning,   we could see the happy buyers walking up and down the village, clutching large bags of 'goodies' 
 Thank you all for coming -  without you there would be no safari.    
See you next year!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A necklace fit for Titania?


The 9 institutes in our District got together in Hollingbourne Village Hall, with the chance to meet old friends and find out what was happening around the Institutes   We also heard plans for the 100 birthday of the WI (in addition of course to HOLLINGBOURNE's own  90th Birthday in 2015)

The competition this year was for an  Edible Necklace
There were some made of sweets, one of chillies,  vegetables etc, and the best one of all was - 

A necklace of wild strawberries.   It stood out amongst all the others!
Who made it?  - Hilary Lucette of course from Hollingbourne, 
who always has good ideas and the ingenuity to carry them out. 

Our speaker was Ray Spiller who played music and had a good line in old fashioned jokes.   His music was from the 50's and 60's and brought back many happy memories of our youth.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Doddington Gardens Kent.

Twelve of us set off from Hollingbourne in convoy, so as to qualify for a discounted group admisssion.
we arrived in bright sunshine in stark contrast to a very wet start to the day.

 As we approached the house the path opened up into a lawned area where people sat picnicking whilst listening to live jazz music.
 Surrounding this grassed area were numerous stalls selling various wares - from fruit liqueurs, flowers, butchery, crepes, cheese to paintings.  Quite a few of us were tempted to part with our money.
Away from the popular events there were quiet corners to contemplate the beauty of the gardens.
After exploring we all met up in the tearoom where most of us indulged in a cream tea, or at the very least, tea and cake.  An afternoon enjoyed by all.

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Eltham WI, visited our Safari Market last year and asked us to join them in a visit to the Palace.

We  joined four members of Eltham WI for a pleasant lunch  on a lovely day, at Tudor Barn in Well Hall Pleasance which was built in the 16th Century. It was owned by William Roper who married a daughter of Sit Thomas Moore - Lord Chancellor of Henry VIII, it  was also the home of Edit Nesbitt (Author of the Railway Children)  A Flying Bomb exploded nearby in 1944 . Through its life it was built and rebuilt with the final restoration in 2002 and the Tudor Barn was back in Business.    The gardens were lovely and it was hard to believe we were so close to London. Four other members joined for the second part of the visit.

We moved on to  Eltham Palace, the original of which was the childhood home of Henry VIII, since 1930  it was owned by the Courtauld family  who built on to it and  travelled the world collecting ideas for their home.  They were keen horticulturists and this shows in the 19 acres of garden.  The Palace reflects the glamour and allure of the 1930's fashionable society. The bedrooms had built in furniture, the bathrooms had sunken baths.  There were telephones in every room.  Even the Racoon had his own room! We were able to watch old cine films of the family and their guests which brought it all to life  - it was fascinating.   Hollingbourne's 7 members are now firm friends with the  8 from Eltham and we hope to see them at the Safari on 7th September.