Camping Trial in 2021

In summer 2018 a number of us attended ‘women go wild’ WI camp weekend in East Grinstead. We had a blast abseiling, hula hooping, zip lining , learning new things and making new friends, chatting and generally having a break. We vowed to continue our camping trips with the WI every year! 

In 2019 a slightly different gaggle of us attended ‘Tents in Kent’ and, although we had a great time together, we spent the majority of it debating how we would have done it better, and we started planning what WE would do if we hosted a camp! 

When we returned home, we set about finding a local – ish campsite that would accommodate a number of our Bognor Regis WI ladies, along with some crafting, talks, activities, walks and just general fun.

Jack found us Furzefield scout camp in Angmering. We knew it would be a perfect venue and we booked for a weekend in the summer of 2020! 

Obviously, we all know what happened in the early part of 2020 and our camp, along with so many other plans, was postponed.

So over two years after our last WI camping experience, a small number of us met for a one night ‘test’ camp mid-week in August. 

Our original band of about 13 was reduced to 7 in the end. We were completely blessed by the weather and arrived Tuesday morning to a beautiful woodland scene with the floor dappled in sunlight and the sounds of nature all around us. The campsite is perfectly sectioned into a number of camping and social areas as well as having a car park, large open gazebo, camp fires, outdoor woodland church, toilets, shower and one plug! But that was all we needed.

We pitched our tents – expertly! Even though a couple of ladies hadn’t even done a dry run at home! 

It was wonderful just to sit and relax, reacquainting, chatting and mixing with friends and having a cup of tea, courtesy of the one plug. 

After lunch we went on a walk. Jan (who had been due to join us) had originally planned a walk and would have been proud of us (not) as we got completely lost and ended up having to squeeze ourselves through a barbed wire fence! We all escaped the landowner’s field unscathed and without being shouted at or arrested for trespassing (Gina was visibly disappointed.)

We rewarded ourselves after the (five – ish) walk with a trip to the pub for a drink while we waited for the fish and chips in the village.

Once we were back in camp, we ate our chippy tea, lit our camp fire and listened to music whilst roasting marshmallows and chatting. The beautiful day had turned into a stunningly clear night and through the trees we could see the stars before we settled down in our tents for bed.

When we woke up the next morning we had a continental breakfast courtesy of Jack, before we started to break camp and clear the site. 

We had all agreed that we felt as though we had been on holiday even though we’d only been 11 miles from home for one night only.

We left with plans of future camping fun, getting back to nature, fully planned walks, workshops and relaxation for 2022’s camp and we hope you’ll join us there. I promise you all, one plug is enough! 

Katie Lyne

Zen Tangling Take 2

Members once again enjoyed an evening of Zen Tangling, chat, and laughter led by our Crafty Queen Sarah.

Everyone was pleased with their results.

So cathartic , perfect way to wind down and relax whilst catching up with friends.

Sue Harris

Latest Update -1,000 mile Walk Group Challenge raising funds for Sage House

Since May’s report the walk group have completed 6 more walks, culminating in its biggest challenge to date with an 8 ½ mile walk at Fittleworth.  

Not only was the distance both a group and a personal challenge for some, the torrential rain the day before made walking muddy and wet in places, and hurdles were put in our way!   To overcome the hurdles:  we explored how many different ways you could get across a barbed wire fence, tested our horse whispering skills and summoned the energy for a sprint up, and down, the highest point in the Fittleworth area!   

551.75 miles have been collectively walked by the group, since the challenge started on 29th March, with £250.00 pledged for Sage House Dementia Unit, one of our WI charities for 2021.   Only 448.25 more miles to tread before our Annual Meeting in October!   Can we do it?

Each walk has a different character – with different routes, different fascinating facts and different corners of the countryside and coast in our area.    The relief of covid restrictions easing in May was enormous, not only did it signify less people across the nation were falling very ill, it meant we could walk together in 1 group, so the planning and organisation were simplified.  

Not every walk group member walks every walk – they walk when they can if the route and date suits them.  Each walk, however, has been in really good company and seemingly enjoyed thoroughly by all taking part.   The walks have been to Dell Quay, Slindon Dale Park, Bognor beach and Pagham Harbour, Arundel as well as Fittleworth.  

Here’s to the next 448.25 miles!

Jan Marsden

Beach Walk

Up to a few years ago I was an enthusiastic member of our walk group, taking part in most of our 4 mile walks. Then old age and arthritis caught up with me so 4 miles was just not on. Hence I was delighted in May when Jan organised a 2 mile flat walk at low tide along the beach at Bognor which I thought I could manage – and I did!

It was a windy day but southerly so we didn’t have to walk into the wind either way. Well wrapped up we started off from the pier walking towards Aldwick. This took us past the end of the prom, where the road comes away from the sea at Fish Lane into what, for me, was unknown territory.

The Mulberry pontoon with Lesley, Frances, and Heather

On the way we came across a piece of history … in the water exposed at low tide there is the remains of a floating pontoon, part of the Mulberry Floating Harbours used by the Allies to support the invasion of France on D-Day 6 June 1944. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know of it’s existence, even though I have lived here for many years.

Lorraine, Frances, Jan, Manuela, Lesley, Kate, Heather, Pam, and Gill munching shortbread

When we reached halfway we had a rest and were supplied with a piece of Jan’s delicious crisp shortbread – this is an essential part of any BRWI walk – I recommend it highly and have added the recipe to the site – click here if you would like to try it.

Manuela and me!

I enjoyed my walk very much, coming home feeling rather tired but very refreshed. I must admit that I was full of plans to have more low tide walks on my own, needlesstosay that hasn’t quite happened yet!

Many thanks to Jan for organising.

Words: Kate Claisse

Photos: Sue Harris

Hotham Park Wildforest Golf WI Tournament:

It may not be on par with the Open but Gina, Karen and Sue met for a round of  adventure golf in Hotham Park.

Competition was fierce but good natured with Karen being the eventual winner by 2 strokes and Gina and Sue enjoying joint second place.

Congratulations to Karen but also to Gina on her hole in one. This would have normally been celebrated with a round of drinks at the 19th hole but we made do with tea and coffee at the café.

Sue Harris

Sarah’s Macrame Feather Zoom

This month’s zoom with our Craft Queen Sarah saw us tying ourselves in knots of string and wool creating a feather under Sarah’s excellent guidance.

As usual there was a lot of chat and fun while we knotted.

Next month see’s us return to Zen Tangling with Sarah and an additional craft zoom, with new committee member Jen making pendants out of plastic bottles. (we love a bit of up-cycling)

Sue Harris

Walk Group Report

2021 – 1,000 mile walk challenge for mind, body, and Sage House Dementia Support Unit

If only we could measure chatter and laughter, or even those amazing views, or the joy from local knowledge researched and shared by our walk leaders.   We would have been to the moon and back – 477,910 miles!

Despite the challenges of organising 3 separate covid-safe groups for each walk, chilly weather, discrepancies in the mileage count, and eating shortbread for fear of offending, we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves since the start of our 2021 – 1,000 mile walk.   It has kept us connected through lock down, and helped us focus on getting through these strange and isolating times.

We have felt privileged to enjoy our coast and countryside in such good company, whilst exercising and exploring areas some of us did not know were there!   We have learnt about our local history, and wildlife – and even about Jan’s family, as one of our few Bognor born and bred members!

To date, 20 of our members have completed 6 walks, some on all the walks and some walking when they can.  We have collectively walked 306.25 miles – the miles for each walk are multiplied by the number of walkers.    We are well on our way to the 1,000 mile target by our Annual Meeting in October.

During the summer, strolls, short walks and day long walks will be introduced into the programme, so that as many members of our WI as possible can be involved, if they want to.   Another way to get on board is to sponsor the walkers and details about that are in The Buzz.  All donations will go to Sage House Dementia  Support Unit at Tangmere.

Dementia Week 17 – 24 May

For these and more 1000 mile walk photos click here.

words & photos: Jan Marsden