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Handy Hints and Tips – Getting Organised

Thanks to all who contributed tips at the last meeting, hopefully these will help us all to get a little more organised!

Write everything in your diary

Put time aside to do specific jobs

Write a to do list


Organise your clothes the night before – so much easier than in the morning!

Always put house keys in same place

Place receipts in folder in monthly order

Put important post in decorative box so doesn’t get lost


Keep a birthday book

Keep a record of supper/dinner party menus – saves repetition!

Have a place for everything – if you have too much stuff it’s time for a clear out, charity or eBay!

Keep a diary, don’t put things off. Put things down for a specific time or they will never get done

Buy travel size toiletries and put to one side so that they’re ready for that last minute trip/weekend away


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Dinner & A Show – WISH hit Warrington Parr Hall

We’ve just come back from our second WISH theatre trip. This time we went to see the Vagina Monologues at Warrington’s Parr Hall. Our trips and excursions organiser, Karen was asked to tell us about her impressions of the night…

When a fellow member of WISH suggested a trip to see the critically acclaimed West End show, Vagina Monologues, earlier in the year I was very enthusiastic about signing up!

I’d heard many things about the monologues, saying that they guarantee laughter through the episodic style story-telling, sharing tales of the feminine experience through a collection of interviews with real women, and I was eager to check it out for myself.

So last Saturday a group of us had a very enjoyable pre-theatre meal at the Grill on the Square in Warrington – the food/drink was very nice (although the martini did dry up!), the company was even better.

Just before 8pm we walked all of the 2 minutes over to the Parr Hall to meet up with more of our lovely members and took our seats. Then we were off!

Vicky Entwistle (Janice, Coronation Street), Clare Buckfield (2.4 Children) and Chelsee Healey (Waterloo Road) delivered the monologues for this production. It soon became clear that the first two performers were going to steal the show as they were very well cast, displaying excellent comic timing and impersonating with aplomb! They moved easily across the difficult material – one minute making the audience fill with laughter, the next bringing silence through recollections of pain or violence. A strange piece of casting, I thought, in the younger Chelsea Davey though, she seemed to get a little flustered at times, but I think she did manage to deliver a heartfelt performance.

As I expected the majority of the audience were female, with the odd male thrown in for good measure. I found myself wondering whether they were in the first stages of the relationship and eager to please, or if they were paying penance after some mis-deed or had came along to see what all the fuss was about?…

I thought the audience reaction quite odd at times, laughing through what, I felt to be, were quite moving, intimate or sad stories: could have been due to embarrassment, a lack of understanding or the comedic way in which the stories were delivered maybe?

There were certainly fireworks during the second act when Clare Buckfield  re-lived, quite brilliantly, a 3 stage, ahem, ‘woman’s period of enjoyment’!

And we all learned something! That there are more than 8000 nerve endings in our ‘lady bits’, which is more than can be found in the lips, mouth, tongue or in a man’s ‘you-know-what’….

All in all the evening was divided into extremes of hilarity and deeply unsettling , sobering moments. Although I couldn’t say the entire show was uplifting I’m really glad I went. And it certainly made me feel very grateful for ‘my lot’ on reflection come Sunday morning.

I found out later that a percentage of revenue from ticket sales is donated to V-Day, a charity which benefits women’s charities across the world. So I hope that, in some small way at least, WISH ladies have helped make the future look a tiny bit more hopeful for some women, somewhere.

The Vagina Monologues was billed as the ultimate girl’s night in – and I think it definitely lived up to it’s expectation!

So, thank-you all ladies and here’s to our next trip…

Karen C

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Lancashire County Show

A couple of weeks ago, 8 of our members took deep breaths and bravely entered the Lancashire Women’s Institute County Show held every year in Garstang.

One of our members, Val has written about her experience of her first year of entering and attending the show:

“We went to the Show.

When I bullied my friend Sue into making something to enter for the
Lancashire County Show I honestly thought there would be half a dozen
entries for each class and it would just be a bit of fun. We might even
win! Hah! Fun?? ……

The County Show was held last week at Garstang Golf Club. It was open for
two days and to see everything on display you really needed, well, two
days. As we were preparing our entries Sue and I suspected that there were
many rules of entry that we did not know about and had no idea of the
standard required. So it was only when we turned up to inspect the
opposition that we were told that there were 2,500 entries and that
standard was extremely high.

There was no sense of it being a bit of fun but it was really eye opening
and very interesting. It was surprising how many different interpretations
of the same theme there can be. The best part was deciding whether or not
to agree with the judges’ decisions ( – which we didn’t quite often but
that’s because it’s an impossible job they have) and reading the comments
about the work submitted (some fair, some encouraging, some very

Our WISH group put in several entries and all were well received and got
good marks and good comments. Some of our entries even WON!! I am glad I
took part and even more glad that I went to see what it was all about. Now
We Know…….”

What we learnt about The County Show …

  • Not all entries are perfect – lovely to see some uneven scones, some ‘slightly’ overdone edges
  • Not every entry will get comments from the judges – none of the cushions did:-(
  • Moulds are allowed on shortbread
  • All cakes are displayed on paper plates
  • There will be so many more entries than you expect – over 2500 this year!
  • WI members are creatures of habit and race to the restaurant at 12pm dead on.
  • Bead work basically means jewellery
  • Triangle shaped scones are fine – 2nd place this year!

Many Thanks to Val for sharing her experience. Those of us who went to Garstang all commented about how overwhelmed we were at the amount of entries and how much there was to look at. We all stayed longer than we expected to and highly recommend a trip to Garstang next year. Have a look through the slideshow – I bet you get the County Show bug!

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Book Club: September 2012 – The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

The majority of the members attending the meeting had a very positive report to give on The Night Circus. Getting lost in the fantasy and being swept along with the romance of the circus was a common theme. The discussion moved onto how the book had even affected peoples dreams.

I did enjoy the book on the whole, but think my expectations  were raised a little too high and was waiting for a big bang at the end of the book. I thoroughly appreciated the imagination of the author though and was mesmerised by the descriptions of the circus. Cara – 3.5/5

Here’s what the other members had to say:

Enchanting fairy tale that I really enjoyed. Well worth a read. Rhona – 4/5

This is my favourite of the books we’ve read so far. I really enjoyed exploring the circus world. I felt there was an interesting spiritual aspect that added an unexpected depth. Kate – 4/5

This was absolutely enchanting! I got completely and beautifully lost in this book. A wonderful read. Deb – 5/5

A very enchanting book, the story is slow and gentle at first but does keep you hooked throughout. A mysterious read. Morven-4/5

Didn’t manage to finish-not sure I will. Not my sort of book – struggled with the fantasy. Helen

Loved it! So mesmerising and enchanting. Didn’t ‘read too much into it’ – perhaps because I hadn’t realised it was a book club choice. Felt almost bereft after I finished it and wondering what I could pick up next! Jen-5/5

Our next read(s) for the 21st November are the choice of The House of Silkby Anthony Horowitz, which is a new Sherlock Holmes novel and The Last Lectureby Randy Pausch. Members are invited to choose one or the other, but of course you can read both. The Last Lecture-Achieving your Childhood Dreams is a non-fiction book and the original lecture that it is based around can be viewed on You Tube here. Morven told us about this inspirational story and it is very moving. So if you don’t have chance to read the book, you can cheat and watch the live lecture.

Cathy Gibson will be leading the November book group and Sue Morris the January group. Anyone wishing to lead future group sessions, please shout.


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Keeping Dream Warm – Secret Knitting – The Big Reveal

Secret Knitting – Revealed!

Remember the secret knitting project that we talked about a few months ago? The one that’s had our members knitting hundreds of squares for a clandestine purpose. Finally after months of hard work we’ve finally revealed the surprise! One of our members, Kate has written about her experience of being involved with the scarf – thank you, Kate!

We’ve taken one secret location:

And combined it with a fabulous bundle of colourful patchwork all to help raise money for Willowbrook Hospice!

Early Saturday morning several of us trekked to the top of the old Sutton Manor Colliery, where we unwound the spool of knitted gems. There was much laughter and dizziness as we tied ourselves up in knots getting everything just right. So when the band of hardy souls finished their bracing 5km sponsored walk at the top of Dream, they were greeted by the following sight: a massive piece of guerrilla knitting!

At the last count, we had about 350 squares created by everyone, from practised pros to newbie knitters. Many were knit by our WI members, but plenty of locals joined in too – there were even squares sent from as far away as Scotland! A brilliant success, we had enough to make the scarf which was two squares deep and still wrap around Dream an impressive five times!

I really enjoyed being involved in this project – especially the ‘knit & natter’ working parties where we stitched all the squares together! It was a brilliant opportunity to chat, get to know people and create something unique & original. And though I still can’t knit, I’m please to say several of our members have new knit and crochet skills!

If you live locally and missed the unveiling, our patchwork Dream scarf will be on display at the World of Glass from the 9th -18th of October. (Closed on Mondays) This is part of the St Helens Open Art Competition and you will be able to see plenty of other creations. The exhibition is free to visit – there is also the chance to buy the scarf if you WISH for £250 (proceeds go to charity)

[...] 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 [...]

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