At a range of venues and times, by ticket only




ABBERLEY WI MEETINGS - 7.30pm  Abberley Village Hall


A lovely evening to start off the new year, with lots of members present and several new faces too. John gave a very interesting talk about the many famous guests that have stayed at the Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury. He showed great enthusiasm and passion for his subject and was able to paint a picture of the history of the hotel and how its importance to Shrewsbury had grown over the years, particularly at the time of the Mail coach. He certainly left us with enough curiosity about the Hotel to make you want to visit, to see the features that are still there today including the ballroom and the stone lion.


Frances Benton treated us to a fascinating, and at times hilarious, talk about the history, the science, myths and legends of the world's most secretive and only living gemstone, the pearl.  As this was an Open Meeting we welcomed friends and husbands as well as some new members, so there was a lively buzz throughout the evening.  We all enjoyed learning about these lovely stones, known in mythology as The Tears of the Dragon, which for over 5000 years have been associated with wisdom, power, wealth and beauty. After the talk we took the opportunity to look closely at the beautiful examples Frances had brought with her and to buy some lovely pieces to wear for ourselves.  All the profits are sent to a charity in Durban which supports orphans. 



After graduating from St Andrews University with an MA Honours in Art History, Zaza went into teaching Art and History of Art at Highgate School in London. She then moved to lecture the collection at the National Gallery in their educationdepartment before moving to Scotland where she worked part-time at Sotheby's. Upon returning to her roots in Worcestershire in 2014, Zaza set up her own art business to create and sell her own pieces. Her style is loose and uncomplicated and she works hard to capture the individual personalities of the animals she paints. To see more on Zaza please look at her website          

Saving 'Saints and Sinners' for another time hopefully, Zaza educated us in The Interpretation of Paintings by using fascinating facts, irreverent humour and an explanation of the Four 'S's - space, style, symbolism and subject. By looking at examples from different categories, Madonna and Child, portraiture, mythology and landscape, Zaza kept us truly entertained and we all left far better informed and equipped with the knowledge to increase our understanding and enjoyment of works of art. 
Some of the works we looked at are below; The Arnolfini Portrait by van Eyck, The Ugly Duchess by Massys, The Judgement of Paris by Rubens and Rain, Steam, Speed by Turner. They can all be seen in The National Gallery.


Paula enlightened us all with information about Pilates. For those of us that had no knowledge of it at all, to those who already do Pilates there was something for everyone. Paula explained its origins and demonstrated the areas of exercise and how they help to develop balance and stability. She showed us various items of equipment that can be used to develop and strengthen the body. Finally we had a good demonstration of various positions by some of our members who do Pilates, this really helped to illustrate how the exercise is done.


Little Witley joined us to discuss the resolutions which will go forward for consideration at the National WI AGM. After the business section of the evening Ann Henderson gave us a lovely demonstration of her skilled craft work. All the beautiful objects on display had been created out of folded, coloured paper. During a lively social tea and cake time many members sat down to have a go themselves and produced some pretty decorative boxes.


The evening went well with nine teams competing for the Shrawley Cup. The quiz consisted of three rounds interspersed with refreshments provided by Holt WI. The quiz challenged the teams with a first round identifying famous faces that had been blended into one, followed by two rounds focussing on the Queen's 90th birthday. They had to use the clues given to identify people born in 1926 and events for that year too. The last round had 10 photos of the Queen from 1920's to 2010's and the teams tried to identify the decade and if possible the year. The teams were very close indeed with their scores and it ended with a tie break question between Abberley Clockwatchers and Abberley 1. Congratulations to Abberley Clockwatchers for their win and to Abberley 1 team of Caroline Crompton, Rose Moule, Valerie Patrick and Laraine Griffin as runners up.
Abberley Clockwatchers 2016 Winners of The Shrawley Cup

Abberley team 1 Runners up in The Shrawley Cup

Robert gave us a very good demonstration of bread making at the same time as talking about the subject. He talked about the techniques used and the differences between flours. He explained how bread making had changed over time to become more mechanised and mass produced.  Robert showed us different ways of shaping the dough that he made and adding other ingredients to make an interesting and tasty bread for a party. Robert had a variety of different breads available for us to purchase, so we were able to go home and enjoy 'Swift's' bread.


This was a very inspiring evening with an interesting talk about Macular disease from Wendy, who is affected by it. She explained the two types of disease and in her case the genetic links that are found. Wendy's husband Roger then talked about the adventures they have been on over the years including skiing, climbing mountains, walking and visiting a volcano. Roger illustrated the talk with photos and explained how they have enabled Wendy to do all of these things with the help of various aides and careful planning. Wendy and Roger were a very good example of how positive thinking, a good relationship and a never give up approach will overcome great difficulties. If you want to know more about Macular Disease then click here. To read more about their adventures read Wendy and Roger's blog here.


Sarah Goodman kindly opened up her house and garden for our annual Garden Party. The rather chilly weather failed to dampen the party mood as over thirty members joined together for a lively social evening. Delicious food was provided by all the members and this produced a wonderful feast of savoury dishes followed by scrumptious puddings. The novel garden pod was much appreciated for its great views over the Teme Valley and as shelter from the cool air, although quite a few members did brave the elements to eat in the garden. Annette celebrated a notable birthday with cake, an unextinguishable candle and a rendition of 'Happy Birthday'. Much chatter and mingling went on, eased by a welcome glass of prosecco and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. 



Merleen presented us with some sobering statistics of the decibel levels and damage potential of activities and machines that are so much a part of modern life, the lesson being that we all need to take more care to avoid the danger to our hearing from power tools or the use of headphones for listening to music. We gained an invaluable insight in how to most effectively communicate with people with hearing impairment, how to gain their attention initially, being at the same level i.e. sitting or standing face to face, speaking clearly but not slowly or loudly and including them in all social communication. She also stressed how vital was the use of hearing loops in public places, hearing aids pick up the signal from a hearing loop and in conjunction with the use of a microphone it is possible for the hearing impaired to follow talks and events or to communicate in banks or surgeries. Lastly we were introduced to Grace, Merleen's assistance dog, who helps with tasks such as alerting Merleen to the doorbell or kitchen timer, fetching her 
if called by a family member and alerting her to traffic. As a result of this talk we shall now insist that all our WI speakers use the microphone and all members will use it when speaking to the meeting. To make things easier the Village Hall will shortly be getting a hands free radio microphone and Hearing Loop signs will be displayed.


Two charming ladies time-travelled from the Tudor Period to give us an insight into their day to day domestic lives, although the unco-operative donkey meant they were delayed en route. We learnt how they dressed, what they ate, about their medicinal herbs and the work their husbands did. They taught us their housekeeping methods and the origin of many words and customs still in use today. Before they left to catch the donkey we were encouraged to join in a performance of one of their favourite songs.



Hosted by Abberley Clockwatchers  

20th October 2016

The Autumn meeting of the Woodbury Group of WIs was a fun evening with an Italian flavour. The event was very well supported and a great social evening, although tinged with a little sadness as it was to be the last get together before the re-organisation of the local WIs. Abberley Clockwatchers, all splendidly dressed as Venetian Gondoliers, treated us to a delicious Italian meal as well as some fantastic entertainment in the form of a talented soprano plus piano accompanist. A programme of operatic arias and some more modern songs was rounded off with an enthusiastic rendition of 'Jerusalem'.


After the business part of the evening had been concluded it was time for our Fashion Show. A willing group of members sashayed along the cat walk, twirling as they reached the end to better display the outfits. There was a splendid variety of outfits, all deserving of the enthusiastic applause. As Lynne compered and revealed the cost of each, Rose our treasurer kept a running total. It was very gratifying to discover at the end of all the fun that members had raised the grand sum of £230.65 for the various charities which had been the source of the outfits.



A lovely evening was enjoyed by 32 members with hot mulled wine to greet us, followed by a three course meal and coffee and mince pies. Just a few photos below of the evening, the full set of photos are on our Facebook page for members only.



We hope you enjoy the programme and please let the committee know the topics you would like to see included next year. There will be other events such as trips or activities added to the programme throughout the year.