- 18th September - 8:00pm : ‘The Abel Label’ - By Katie Ellis.
- 16th October - 8:00pm : ‘Fire Safety in Your Home’ - By Melanie Quinn.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Nature is wonderful!!!

This is nothing to do with the WI.
I just felt I had to share my garden with you readers.

 Last Summer and Winter were a pain, it made us feel low, not appreciating what is around us.
Mother nature however made use of all the rain and the snow and has produced an abundance of primroses- I have never seen them so prolific, there are 10 /15 times more plants blooming this year
 Individual plants have sprung up all over the place in great big clumps..
.. and not restricted themselves to yellow - there are pink and even purple ones.   Nature never gives up, even in the worst weather and continues annually to delight us.   As Spring comes (even slowly) let us show others how happy we are with the world around us.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


We always try to prepare an interesting and wide reaching programme for members. On 19th March our speaker was Philip Godliman who spoke with great enthusiasm about the Romany Gypsies who originated in India and Egypt.   They have their own language and Philip gave examples of this.

They lived in Wagons or Vardos and also made up Bender Tents to sleep their family.  They needed to roam freely and were very aware of the countryside and respected it. When they were leaving an area to move on they would clear any rubbish and replace a patch of turf, removed for a fire.  When they left, no-one woul have known they had been there.  Cleanliness was an important issue.  The Romany term "Mokkadi' refers to the rules of washing clothes, themselves and food preparation.  Dogs were never allowed inside the Vardos.

To earn money the women would do Fortune Telling at fairgrounds and seasides.   Also sell wooden clothes pegs, primrose baskets and wooden flowers made by the men.  The men dealt in horse trading and the most important day of the year were the annual horse fairs.  They also did knife grinding door to door.  A way for the whole family to make money was Hop Picking and Fruit Picking.  These ways of making money are no longer available, and the majority of Romany Gypsies now live in houses.   They are the largest ethnic minority in Kent and the South East.

This talk drew people of Romany origin and others  to our meeting and was  generally thought to have been one of the best talks we have had.  

 On 8th April 14 members followed this up by a visit to South East Romany Museum in Marden, to be met by Frank Brazil who is a member of a traditional Romany Gypsy family.  He told us many of the things Philip Godliman had explained and the history of his family.
 The skills leant to build and repair wagons are still being handed down and he showed us some of the wagons they are working on.
 Also the beautifully painted horse drawn carts.  We were able to go into one of the wagons and you could sense the excitement and freedom of that life.
 Frank told us that he was born in a wagon and his Mother's rule for her children was that if they were stopping in one area for more than three weeks the children would go to the local school, if it was less than three weeks they stayed at home and helped the parents.

We left feeling that we had learnt much about a past culture that once brightened up our countryside and hoped that people would continue to keep this history alive.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

oo la la - French Style Quiz to celebrate Twinning

Hollingbourne WI's French Style Quiz  to celebrate the Twinning of 
Hollingbourne with Templeuve in France, was a huge success.

The scorers Madame Hilary and Madame Valerie -  and Rita - ' Miss France 1963'  the Quiz mistress, 
made sure the evening was 'Magnifique'. 

These two itinerants  suitably dressed were clutching each other before they started drinking!

 and the Winners  - Team Les Escargots - celebrated their win with a Bottle of French Plonk each.
The losers - Team Les Burgandy -  had to make do with a wooden spoon each. 
The prize for the joint winner of the  'Best Dressed French Man'  (Norman Dabbs)-  was a French Style kiss on three cheeks by Miss France 1963 - with the other BDFM  (Alan Williams) - looking on.

The Twinning agreement between the two Villages was signed in Leeds Castle on 11th March and in Templeuve Old Town Hall on 18th March this year.  The Hollingbourne Village fete will be opened by Luc Monnet the Mayor of Templeuve on 15th June - BE THERE!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


West Kent Federation of WI's has 178 Institutes.
West Kent is 95 years old this year and we have been challenged to do lots of 95's.
The WI's are divided into Districts - Our District,  'Northdowns'  has 9 WI's and we decided on a
 'Knit-in' - to make 95 knitted squares and to combine them into a blanket for a charity.  

The Charity is chYps - Children and young peoples Services - A unique organisation as it is a hospice at home. Children with life limiting and life threatening conditions receive clinical care and support in their own home.   Marion Smith their fundraiser came to receive the blankets and tell us more, with the aid of slides.  Marion is in the middle (red cardigan) and our knitters around her.
 It certainly is a worthwhile cause and their contact is 01322221315

We had a lot of fun on  the day - even when a 'knitter' was given her enormous allocation of wool, she still smiled.

Here are some blankets we prepared earlier -  the magnificent one in the middle has a crochet border and should raise a lot of money when it is auctioned. 
Please contact Marion if you want to help the Charity, or Hollingbourne WI if you want to join any institute in our District.
Bearsted Green, Bearsted and Thurnham, Detling, Stockbury, 
Roseace, Madginford, Leeds, Willington,  Hollingbourne.