Doing a bit of catching up

Okay, I promised I’d tell about the Women’s Institute group I joined. Well, thankfully I seem to have joined the rebel group! There are only around 16 members, unlike some of the other groups that have upwards of 50. They are more formal, singing “Jerusalem” at the beginning of the meetings and much more strictly organised. Whereas our group (yes, I can say “our” now!) is so small that it was decided years ago that everyone would be the committee. There are the usual officers, like chairwoman, secretary, treasurer, minutes secretary and records keeper. But the rest of us all have a say in what goes on.

And they are such a friendly group! They are all older than me; I am definitely the baby of the group now! But they were so welcoming and glad to have me join them. They have a great sense of humour; there is always lost of laughter and chatter, especially at teatime when the tea and biscuits are handed round. I’ve volunteered to be one of the tea ladies in the next group after the next one. I’m to bring the sweet bisucuits and the other lady is bringing cheese and crackers and the milk.

Our next meeting, tomorrow, is a big one. It’s an open meeting, so several of the other groups have been invited to hear the editor of the local paper. We’re providing the food so we’re planning a spread! I’ve bought a nice box of chocolate biscuits and I also got a large box of chocolates that will do as a raffle prize. I may, if I get up the courage, bake a large batch of mini muffins (the US kind, not British muffins). I say courage as the WI is known for it’s baking. And there are some serious bakers in the group!

The first meeting I went to was really interesting. We had a talk from a lady who runs her own cheese factory. What’s now known as a “boutique” factory. She started out making just goat’s cheese and now also makes cheese from cow’s milk. It was just something she decided to do one day as one of her children had eczema and she had to make their smallholding pay it’s own way somehow. She gave us a fascinating talk and handed round bags of little pieces of different cheeses for us to try. Then we were able to buy some. I bought two gorgeous mature cow’s milk cheese and a goat cheese for L as she is lactose-intolerant and can’t eat cow’s milk cheese. That cheese went very quickly, it was so delicious! Our next meeting, after the open one is on making jewellery and we’ll be able to buy some kits and have a go at making it ourselves. Should be good!

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