We had a fantastic evening of Zumba at our March meeting led by the indefatigable Andrea who took us through an assortment of Latin rhythms. It was the first time for most of us but certainly not the last. Rain featured quite prominently in our outdoor activities – we were only able to play tennis once, and our Friday walks were wet, muddy, but invigorating. We had an excellent guided walk of Roman London led by Mary Brooks who was an inexhaustible fund of information on the history and development of the City, and of its Guilds and architecture. Other highlights this month included a tasty Moroccan dinner at ‘Zin’ in Kensal rise and a lovely full-day walk in the woods around Chislehurst.
Category: President’s Blog
February saw us taking our Friday park walks a little farther afield as we explored Islington & St. Pancras Cemetery, Hampstead Heath, Holland Park, and Regent’s Park. Jan Knight’s informative presentation about ‘Giving to Charity’ made up our regular monthly meeting with the evening topped off by Deb generously providing pink fizz to celebrate her birthday. We had a great circular walk in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s, Hertfordshire (with a pub lunch in Ware) following at times the River Lee or along a disused railway line. There were plenty of snowdrops and even some friendly birders who identified a group of Red Crested Pochards for us and let us look through their binoculars. Book Group had a welcome return to ‘in-person’ meeting for the first time in three years with a good discussion of The Hare with the Amber Eyes.
The new year began with another busy month. First, nine of us enjoyed our pandemic-delayed evening at the Kiln Theatre to see the excellent ‘Wife of Willesden’. The shortlist of WI campaign Resolutions being put forward this year were discussed and voted on at our monthly meeting, followed by a couple of games of Bingo. There was a very muddy but glorious walk near Balcombe in East Sussex one weekend, and on another chilly evening a group of 16 of us filled ‘Sudu’ – a local Malaysian restaurant. Friday park walks, weekly tennis doubles, and Craft Group all thrived.
December opened with a lively discussion at Book Club of the much-enjoyed Love after Love by Ingrid Persaud. The following week our annual Christmas party was kindly hosted once again by Frances – with all the members contributing to an outstanding ‘bring & share’ buffet. The charades were a touch challenging (‘The Shawshank Redemption’ anyone?!) but prizes were eventually won and Secret Santa gifts shared.
Tennis doubles continued in Queen’s Park throughout the month – with play only stopped once by the ice & thick snowfall. Friday park walks took in Queen’s Park, Gladstone Park, a spectacularly beautiful winter walk on West Heath, and Kensal Green Cemetery, giving much-needed escapes from the pre-Christmas rush – not to mention excellent opportunities for a good natter!
November has been a busy month with four new members elected to the committee although we were sad to see Louise, who has had many committee roles and always filled the gaps step down from the committee. Time to enjoy being a member! We had a record 18 at Dining Club in Willesden Green this month, very efficiently organised by our new Dining Club Rep, Desi. We started our Friday park walks again, followed by the most important part – coffee and a chat!
The month got off to a great start with a talk on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Beekeeping by our very experienced beekeeping member, Patricia. Patricia brought along an observation hive and it was amazing to see the bees up close. Janet hosted Craft Club and Rebecca led a walk around Roundwood Park with coffee afterwards. There was another walk across Riddlesdown, Kenley, Coulsdon commons, which led onto Happy Valley and then we had a fantastic view back to the city of London from Farthing Down. I think everyone enjoyed our book choice, Michael Rosen’s Many Different Kinds of Love. Fifteen of us went to see Handbagged at the Kiln theatre, made memorable as we went on the day the then Prime Minister resigned!
This month got off to a great start with an outing to see the Feminine Power exhibition at the British Museum, which was much enjoyed by all. Next we had a fabulous stall at the Queen’s Park Festival, with many of our members helping either by baking or on the stall and it was great to meet so many people from Queen’s Park. Next we had a really therapeutic Tai Chi taster session with Sam at St. Anne’s. We celebrated National WI day with a walk around Gladstone Park followed by coffee. Our longer September walk took us over Oxshott Heath and Esher Common with a pub lunch stop on a lovely Autumn day. Last but not least was a very popular and enjoyable meal in Ravels in Hampstead. Several members are planning to go back.
July and August 2022
We had another fabulous picnic in Queen’s Park with lots of food and drink to share. Our Summer continued in August with an outing to Eastbourne to enjoy traditional British seaside treats including a fish and chip lunch. Craft Club resumed in person in July and August with the lovely summer evenings in Caroline’s garden. Dining Club came south to St. John’s Wood and we had a very sociable meal at Crocker’s Folly. Our monthly meeting at St. Anne’s was a talk by a nurse who had been on the front line during the pandemic and it was great to hear how the staff and community responded to support one another. Next month we’ll be at Queen’s Park Day, so we’re all planning our baking, come and see us if you’re passing by!
We’ve had a great month in June, a fascinating guided walk around Kilburn taking in sights and buildings some of us had never noticed before. Who knew that Kilburn once had the largest cinema in the country? We all loved the mural of June Rose Barber. We rounded off the walk by celebrating our oldest member’s 80thbirthday at a pizza restaurant. Doubles tennis and more importantly coffee afterwards with our non-playing friends continues to be popular. We had a really good discussion of Helen Lewis’s ‘Difficult Women A History of Feminism in 11 Fights’. Everybody enjoyed reading the book and the discussion ranged across many of the topics highlighted in the text, with members focusing on issues which had particularly resonated for them and sharing some personal experiences to illustrate the points that Lewis was making.