Covid-19 influenced our Autumn Walks with a vengeance!
That did not stop us getting out and about, however, and our walks were managed within coronavirus guidelines 6-person rule and NFWI guidance for WI activities. 18 of our members, please note – not all at once, have taken part in one or more walks. Recruitment of additional walk leaders has gone very well, and sincere thanks goes to those volunteers.
Bognor Pier to Aldwick along the beach at low tide was the first walk. As it coincided with a dress down day at Sage House, one of our WI charities, walkers wore unusual hats and raised £40.00 for their funds.
Halnaker Windmill walk, on a bright sunny morning, was a tribute to our late member Stella. The information our walk leaders share about key points on the walks, extended to a reading of a poem, written by Hillaire Belloc, about the similarity of Halnaker Windmill’s dereliction in 1923 to the state of the country at that time.
The erosion that the last winter’s storms caused at Climping shocked some of us on the walk along the shoreline from Middleton to Climping. Does anyone know when Climping was spelt as Clymping? Jan, our main walk leader, had to concede that Climping spelt with an ‘i’ seems to have been around longer than Clymping spelt with a ‘y’. £41.50 was raised for ACWW, Associated Country Women of the World – we were taking part in Women Walk the World Day.
The next walk took us back to Pagham Harbour North Wall to Siddlesham Quay. Sadly, no one saw the Cattle Egrets, that had recently arrived, with their yellow beaks – however, there was plenty of other wild life to spot, along with some rather tricky puddles!
Now looking forward to the rest of Autumn. Details will be sent out shortly, and more WI members would be welcome.
Lockdown thwarted the newly formed Upcycling Group, led by the lovely Sarah, after only one project. But we are WI and will not be kept down. Keeping to the “Group of 6” restriction, the group returned with a project to up-cycle jam jars into candle holders.
Sarah patiently led us through the process and we all got to try a glue gun….the glue is hot. In addition to bringing home some beautifully crafted candle holders it was an opportunity to catch up, chat and have a laugh. Such a tonic for your mental health in these surreal times.
Five of us meet up for our weekly book group in West Meads field. The postman said hello as did a cockerpoo puppy, we’re a bit of a fixture now. The sun kept us warm, but fleeces were needed in the breeze. We are currently reading I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.
Easing of coronavirus lock down gave us an opportunity and we made the most of it!
Our WI Walk Group re-started in June, within Covid-19 guidelines, and managed 10 walks before the evening light diminished. Exercise, laughter, Jan’s shortbread, warm sunny evenings and conversation proved a successful formula for over 20 of our WI members.
The walks were arranged in or around Bognor Regis, with the exception of the walk to the WI Federation Centenary Oaks Wood at Slindon. We found pockets of Bognor Regis and its environs, that many of us did not know were there. We increased our knowledge about where we live and some of its history. Karen, Mandy, Frances and Sheila supported Jan is taking on the lead for some of the walks. Here are a few of the special moments:
The cross over with the different walk sub groups on the beach, at low tide, on our first evening walk, with arms stretched out to keep our social distance.
Jan’s regular sugar fix for every member.
Support and kindness, as one walk was a bit further that we were given to believe!
The amazing views across Pagham Harbour with its changed landscape since our last walk there.
Bells, Mandy’s horse, welcoming us to her home.
Local knowledge about the Barnham Canal, Chalcroft Lane airfield, Felpham Nature Reserve, and the Bersted Man.
First Aid Kit used for the first time in 9 nine years – only for a plaster!
A Bognorian, born and bred in Bognor Regis, of which we seemed only to have 1 on the walks, reminiscing about old haunts and homes.
Non-exhaustive chatter as we mixed and matched while walking along.
Sculptures at Bersted Park.
The Walk Group also ventured further afield by Zoom in July. We took ourselves somewhere even more special for 30 minutes! Amazing views of the high Himalayas, insight into family and farming communities, and the role of women there. Thanks to Jane Weston, a friend of Jan’s, for sharing the photographic journey – on paths most of us will not have the opportunity to walk on.
There were so many more special moments during the 2020 Summer of Bognor Regis WI evening walks, but most of all thank you everyone for joining in and making our walks so enjoyable.
I will miss them, and you!
Jan’s photos are in our photo album. To view them, please click here.
A July evening saw a social get together in Gina’s garden, backing on to the prom in Felpham. Following in the tradition of previous year’s Gin and Swim and Pimms and Paddle came our Fizz and Float.
11 intrepid women left the safety of Gina’s garden, on to the prom, and into the sea for a swim. After an initial chill when we got in, we had great fun swimming and floating around in the choppy waters.
The corona virus had the potential to take so much from us, which meant we had to think differently. The walk group was not going to be outdone. Jan sent the usual gang of walkers, by email each month, photographic memories and notes about 3 walks we had completed over past years: Graffham Wild Daffodil Wood, Angmering Bluebell Wood, and Pagham Harbour. However, with the easing of lockdown guidelines, things changed.
We’re out and back together, socially distanced of course!
Gill suggested a walk to Sue and, within days, Jan had an evening walk organised with military precision and within social distance guidelines. Last Monday 16 members split into 3 groups – 1 group starting from the Lobster Pot at Felpham, and 2 groups starting from the Waverly, at the end of the prom in Bognor, at staggered times.
The cross-overs were always going to be a challenge – but they worked! Individuals kept apart and, although greetings and a bit of chat were exchanged, there was no crowd gathering. Some bought ice-cream or drinks at the Lobster Pot, others devoured Jan’s shortbread, and some had both!
A lovely sunny evening along Bognor Regis beach at low tide, with plenty of space and only a slight breeze, made a perfect evening. Everyone said how wonderful it was to walk along with others and chat.