Here we go with Lockdown Letter Number 2, not a phrase many WI Chairmen would ever have anticipated. Since the last Newsletter I have secured loo rolls (hurrah) and done so much tidying of cupboards that I feel a swishing event coming on when this is all over. In fact, an SSS event, to SWISH accessories, scarves etc, to SWAP stories from our lockdown moments and finally SNACKS to eat as we all meet up to do the first two Ss.
Like most of you I have now queued for groceries, clapped for carers, put teddy bears in the windows and watched, at nearly 100 years old, Captain Tom doing his walking for the NHS. What a wonderful gentleman. Most importantly for many of us, we just stayed at home as requested because although this may not seem much it is helping to defeat the virus. It has all reminded me that the last time I queued for food was in Manchester in the 70s and it was for bread during the three-day week crisis. Although I can still remember rationing it was very late on and did not by the early 50s seem to involve any queuing for my sweeties in Doncaster. I think here I will steal a few words from Sir Winston Churchill in his Battle of Britain speech of 1940 and just say – ”Never (I will leave out the field of human conflict bit) was so much owed by so many to so few.” You all know that I mean all those involved in tackling this horrendous virus whatever their occupation and wherever they live.
My diary is a mess of crossing out and amongst the several WIs that I should have visited to do Annual Meetings or demonstrations I would just like to mention Prudhoe WI and Hedgeley WI who both had to cancel significant birthday celebrations to which I was invited. It has been such a shame for so many WI events, but the Post Pandemic Parties will be quite something I suspect and my best wishes for your birthdays go to Prudhoe and Hedgeley.
Enclosed with this Newsletter is a food quiz from our very own Sue Malloy which I hope you will all enter and I can tell you that even I can have a go because the answers will not be published until next month. Thank you, Sue, for doing the quiz and I am sure there will be in your questions some little thing that we will always remember if it crops up on Pointless.
Now talking of quizzes, I recently discovered in a book 69 things that “No English home should be without”. I have definitely got 43 of them but in the spirit of being in the WI, I thought I would share 6 of them that will possibly be in every WI home: A TEA POT, STRING, A SET OF PLAYING CARDS, BEST CHINA, SPARE BIRTHDAY CARDS and FRESH FLOWERS. If you want to send your suggestions for the remaining 63 please do send them to the office and when normal service resumes there might even be a prize for whoever gets the most that are in my book and no I am not going to give you either the title of the book or the name of the author. There was at the end of the list of 69 a 70th which just said…” and if there’s room chickens”. I have to say that along with many of you my supply of spare cards is slowly dwindling so friends will soon be receiving Anniversary cards or congratulations cards on their birthdays. Just bear with me, it is the thought that counts!
I am remaining positive that our Council Meeting will go ahead in October as it would be lovely to use it as a big celebratory reunion for Northumberland Federation so let us all keep our fingers crossed.
Kim Suleman, President of Cullercoats WI has come up with an idea to make washable protective bags for NHS workers in which to take home their uniforms for washing. For details of how to get involved visit our Facebook page.
It was a great sadness to learn of the death of former Tyneside Executive member Mavis Milburn just as the lockdown began. A lovely lady with a ready smile for everyone and she served on the Cullercoats committee for many years. Only family members were permitted to attend the funeral but when restrictions are lifted Cullercoats WI are intending to have a memorial service in celebration of Mavis and all that she did. Details will be published in due course.
I will finish by wishing all of you well on behalf of the Board of Trustees, the WI Advisers and of course Nancy who is continuing to run the day to day business of the office from her home. Please remember that if you feel that you need to contact any of us our telephone numbers are in the Yearbook and any emails should be addressed to the Federation Office and Nancy will forward them. Stay safe and keep smiling.
Take care Marj

Northumberland WI

t: 0191 217 0808

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Blezard Business Park, Seaton Burn
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE13 6DS