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The WISH Craft Show

Thank you to Kate Conway for the brilliant write up of our first Craft Show:

On May 21st we held our first annual WISH Local Craft Show – with the added excitement of a last minute special guest!

We wanted to hold an event that didn’t have all the stress and pressure of the big Women’s Institute County Show. We had six categories: a tray bake, a plate of cookies, a child’s hat, a poem of four lines, a greetings card and a key chain/bag charm.

We had a brilliant turn out, with several entries in every category. There was a huge table of tray bakes and a table heaped with cookies – which also doubled as our refreshments for the evening. It was a great opportunity to chat with friends and show off our crafting skills.

Once all the entries were checked in we just waited for our celebrity judge to arrive.

Comedian Ross Noble is travelling across the UK for his new television program Freewheeling. Basically he’s asking  Twitter to suggest unusual people & places to visit. One of our members, Deb Connor started a dedicated campaign to bring him to our local show.

Ross looked a bit nervous when he arrived with his team and cameras, but he soon put on a brave face and jumped in (I think the promise of biscuits may have helped!)

To finish the evening we pulled out the scarf we made for St Helen’s Dream last year, and someone came up with the clever idea of wrapping is around Ross Noble. Of course the Dream Scarf is just a little big, so it became more of a full body wrap. After a bit of hopping about (and an unexpected surprise for Ross) eventually Mr Noble managed to escaped from his cocoon.

After plenty of hijinks and giggles, Ross and his team waved good bye and set off to their next destination, taking our giant scarf with them. Hopefully we’ll soon see British landmarks across the country sporting our patch work scarf!

If these pictures just aren’t enough, you can experience the night for yourself with this short video Morven and her other half have put together of the highlights.

linda - November 5, 2013 - 10:40 pm

Loved your bit with Ross Noble tonight. My husband is from St H and it was good to see it on the tv. I also took a look in your archives, well done ladies for an exciting and vibrant WI. If you were local to me I’d join.

WIADMIN - November 25, 2013 - 12:40 am

Thanks very much, Linda! Glad you enjoyed the programme – we watched it between our fingers!

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WISH Supper Club: Colours Restaurant

We have had a busy month of May, here at WISH. In the past few weeks we have held our first WISH Craft Show (Official post to follow soon) and we have also held our first getogether of the WISH Supper Club.

The aim is to have informal gatherings to local restaurants approximately once every 3 months. We want to eat good food in good company, dress up if we like, and enjoy a relaxing evening.

For our first taste of a Supper Club dinner (or tea, depending where you are from) we decided to visit the restaurant that is run by St Helens College, training students in the catering industry. Colours classes itself as a ‘modern, contemporary fine-dining restaurant’ and is based in Waterloo Street in St Helens Town Centre.

We had a staggering 21 members that decided to come along on a Thursday evening and yes, we did all decide to dress up!

One of our members, Maggie, who was the idea behind arranging a Supper Club, has kindly written a few words to sum up the evening:

We were made to feel very welcome by staff and students alike, and a great evening was enjoyed by everyone .
 The food was delicious and beautifully presented by trainee students, and needless to say the wine flowed!
 A big thank you to Louise and Morven for organising such a lovely evening and we look  forward to future Supper Club Events.
Thanks, Maggie!
The next course in the Supper Club, will be on Tuesday 13th August  - Venue to be confirmed nearer the time (Will hopefully be town centre). Sign Up Sheets will be available at both the June and July main meetings or email the WISH email address if you are interested in coming along.
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Book Club: 20th March 2013 – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Two mouthfuls of titles and two very different books. We started with The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, by Kate Summerscale a book that polarised views within the group. A non-fiction book detailing the true life crime of a murder in Wiltshire in 1860. The author had obviously done a huge amount of research into the subject, and none of the detail was left out. Some felt that it was like reading a thesis rather than a book for pleasure.

The blurb: “It is a summer’s night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks. The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects. The murder provokes national hysteria. The thought of what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes – scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing – arouses fear and a kind of excitement. But when Whicher reaches his shocking conclusion there is uproar and bewilderment. A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery – a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.”

Here’s what we thought:

An unusual book that started off well but became frustrating. I really wanted to know “who did it” but even at the end there was no satisfying answer. 2/5 – Val

Enjoyed the basic storyline, but too much attention into other crimes. 2/5 – Pam

An interesting read depicting the era of the day. Went off at a “tangent” in several places but overall enjoyable. Something that I would not normally read. A real ‘mystery’. 4/5 – Mary

I hated this book! So difficult to get trough. A few good quotes in it, but not worth a read. 1/5 – Rhona

Greatly detailed book, containing researched scenarios around a devastating murder of a child. I wouldn’t call it an enjoyable read but can respect and admire the authors skilled writing and ability to weave fact and fiction. 3/5 – Anne

Very detailed and factual. Too hard going and unfortunately didn’t want to finish it – and I didn’t! 1/5 – Morven

The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce had a much more positive review from the majority of the group. A sometimes sad, but oftenuplifting account of recently retired Harold on his mission to walk the length of the country to be reunited with an ex work colleague who paid him an act of kindness before she dies.

The blurb: “When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.

He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. 

All he knows is that he must keep walking.

To save someone else’s life.”

Here’s what we thought:

An easy read, and an unusual idea with a good ending. 4/5 – Mary

A gentle read. Really enjoyable, got to know the characters well.  4/5 – Helen

This gets better as the story goes on. A ‘nice’ story, worth a read.  3/5 – Rhona

A really lovely book, although it is a bit of hard work at the beginning, but definitely worth persevering with. Well written characters that draw you into the story. 4/5 – Morven

Our next reading choices are Stay Closeby Harlan Coben and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby Mary Ann Shaffer. We will be meeting on Wednesday 15th May, 7.30pm at the Pavillion Bar, Ruskin to discuss. All welcome, if you have read both, one or none of them.

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Allotment News and Plant Sale

We also have an update on progress so far from our resident gardener, Sarah …

With the advent of warmer weather a bit more work has been done at no 72.
The strawberry bed has been tidied up with some fruit bushes planted too we’ve added raspberry canes, gooseberry bush, a current or two, colour unknown – how we love surprises:-)

Also in the ground are potatoes, and some beans have found themselves in the soil too… there are other goodies, yet to be planted which include sweet corn and cabbages, onions and shallots. It sounds like a lot but there’s a load more space to fill and I’m sure we will, there are some courgettes in seedling state and these take up loads of room, they’re really quite greedy for space

Hoping, weather dependant, to have bit of a session on Saturday 11th May and the 18th.
If anyone would like a midweek visit let me know and hope to be able to meet you there

We always welcome newbie gardeners and people wanting to learn. Its not too late to get involved with the plot – Just give us a shout! Children are welcome and we have a dedicated children’s section where they can learn to dig and plant.

Sarah x

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WI Stall – St Helens Fun Day In Aid of Willowbrook Hospice

Just before Christmas some of our wonderful members stepped up to the challenge of hosting a stand at a local charity event.  Not only did they pull it off in style, they seemed to have a great time doing it. Here is  Morven’s account of the day:

During November’s WI meeting it was announced that WISH had been invited to run a stall at the St Helens Fun day in aid of Willowbrook hospice.  But horror!… neither Helen or Cara would be able to be there and they were asking for volunteers to run it on the day.  At the end of the meeting a few of us congregated together and started discussing ideas.  None of us had really done a stall before but we were willing to give it a try!   By the time we left we had a plan of what we could do and a list of possible baking and crafts that we could produce to sell on the day.

Not much happened for the next fortnight, then… the texts started flying!   Final details were put into place and finally the day arrived.  A very cold but extremely sunny winter’s day was upon us.   A few of us (Maggie, Louise and myself) arrived early at 8.30AM to set the stall up in the entrance hall of St Helens College.   It was very busy with about 40 stalls in the main entrance and several more throughout the corridors.   Members of Willowbrook Hospice were on hand to help the stall holders set up but we still had to raid empty classrooms for spare tables and chairs (sorry!).   As we were setting up we were treated to the sight of about 150 runners setting off for the Santa Dash – there were Santas everywhere!

Come 10am, we were ready for business – a stall crammed full of jam, curds, relishes, tray bakes. fairy cakes, scones, flapjacks, eccles cakes, coconut ice, ginger biscuits, shortbread and more, and crocheted scarves, broaches and Christmas tree decorations, the WISH ladies really came through on the day.   It was a fine looking stall worthy of the WI name – even if I do say so myself!  Several WISH members answered the call to help out on the day, which was great as it meant all of us could take a turn wandering about the other stalls.

Our stall did a pretty good trade all morning, the baking, jams and relishes sold especially well. Several customers came over to make purchases only after they saw the WI sign and a lot of the baking was eaten on the spot.

We were entertained throughout the morning with Christmas music, a youth brass band playing Christmas carols and morris dancers! It really put us in the Christmas spirit.

By lunch time it was getting quieter, but that didn’t stop one WISH member!   A special thanks to Linda who took it upon herself to load up a tray of goodies from our stall and take it to the masses.  She used her excellent sales techniques on people in the street, having their lunch, customers at other stalls and other stall holders and came back with an empty tray several times.  As Louise said ‘Linda could sell ice to the Eskimos!’

By 2pm we decided it was time to close up shop, especially as we had no baking left to sell.   In total we raised £67 ( it could have been more, but no buggers bought any of my scarves! ).   We all had a great day and it was a lot of fun, I think this will be the first of many WISH stalls….

P.S. Anyone want a scarf?…..:D


Photo credit: Kate C

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