The experiences of a critical care nurse on the Covid frontline – 10 August

Andrea Allen, a critical care nurse with over 30 years experience, gave an awe-inspiring account of working throughout the Covid pandemic at St George’s Hospital, telling us how she and her colleagues had had to adapt to a completely new way of working in order to cope with the onslaught of Covid and all the challenges it brought. A simple email to friends at the start of the pandemic asking for biscuits went viral and as a result she carried on chronicling her experiences in a weekly email that was read across the world. Her emails formed the basis of her best-selling book “Life, Death and Biscuits’.

Exploring Kilburn

There was a good turnout on a lovely sunny evening for our guided tour of Kilburn. Denise Arnold was an excellent guide who told us so many interesting facts about a place many of us thought we knew well! In particular she focussed on the theme of women and children, as well as the various immigrant communities who have made Kilburn their home. Also, who knew that so many famous musicians started their careers in Kilburn! The evening was rounded off with a lovely meal at which we were able to celebrate Janet’s very special birthday.

Restoring the Courtauld

Pat West, a former (and we hope future) member of the NWLWI gave a fascinating talk about her work as part of the team involved in the three-year restoration and refurbishment of the Courtauld Institute building in Somerset House. It was fascinating to hear about the history of the building and how the restoration combined the old and the new, resulting in a fabulous, modern and accessible building which houses the galleries as well as the Institute. Pat told us about all the obstacles and challenges that the team overcame in the course of the three years, not least managing to oversee the project via Zoom during the Covid lockdowns! We can’t wait to visit!

Let your life Speak – Quakerism

On the 6th of April, we met at our new venue, St Anne’s in Salusbury Road.  

One of our members, Janet Cummins, gave us a fascinating insight into the practices of Quakerism, the common name for the Religious Society of Friends. Starting with a brief history beginning in the mid-1700s,  Janet described Quaker philosophy, the foundation beliefs and congregational practices. She emphasised the focus on equality in all aspects of communal life and the role of women during past centuries when these were not commonly recognised in general society.  Her talk provoked a lively discussion, with our members keen to ask a wide variety of questions regarding Quakers’ wedding and funeral practices, roles in commerce, and comparisons with other organised religions across the world. 

Women with Altitude – 100 years of the Pinnacle Club

We enjoyed a riveting presentation from Val and Meena about their hair-raising experiences of mountaineering and rock climbing, both in the UK as well as the Alps and the Himalayas. There was also a video of audio stories illustrating how things have changed over the last 100 years – we learned that 100 years ago women had to climb in long skirts (but usually hid their skirts behind a boulder as soon as they were out of sight!)

Check out the Pinnacle Club centenary website for more details: https://www.pc100.org/

NFWI Resolutions – and Bingo!!

At our January meeting we had a good discussion on the WI 2022 Resolutions and then took a vote (vote still open to members until Tuesday 18th January – contact Frances for further details)

  • Fit for Purpose – Fit for Girls
  • Appropriate Sentencing of Non-Violent Women Offenders
  • Equality in Law for the Menopause
  • Women and Girls with ASD and ADHD Under-Identified, Under-Diagnosed and Under-Supported
  • Tackling Digital Exclusion

More details on the resolutions can be found on the National Federation of WI’s website here

We then enjoyed a friendly, if rather competitive, game of Bingo with Caroline proving that she missed her vocation as a Bingo caller. Plans are now afoot for a visit to a Bingo Hall!

Party time!

Many thanks to Frances for hosting the annual party – a good time was had by all! Lots of lovely food and drink and party games. Congratulations to Lizzie for winning the Christmas-themed mask competition – a worthy winnner!