On Saturday 2nd December, ten members of Bognor Regis WI were whisked back in time to experience a Victorian Christmas – courtesy of Portsmouth Dockyard’s wonderful event, and Woods Travel’s door-to-gate coach service.
The weather was cloudy but dry – except for where the artificial snow was falling – and the dockyard was awash with 21st-century shoppers and 19th century entertainers, all wending their way around the many food, drink and craft stalls that were spread around the site. Queen Victoria and her entourage looked unamused but were willing to pose for photos; while young chimney sweeps danced in the street, and red-coated soldiers marched about. There were women in shawls, gents in top hats, several giant reindeer and even a couple of angels (gliding about very cleverly on hidden Segways).
Then there was the carousel, which many of us could not resist – including Stella, who was not going to let the small matter of her upcoming 91st birthday deter her from getting on board.
It was a fun, entertaining and enjoyable day – many thanks to our President and the committee for organising it.
On Monday 7th August 2017 20 members of BRWI plus a daughter and 4 husbands arrived at the Chichester Festival Theatre for our ‘Behind the Scenes Tour’. Having been suitably refreshed with coffee from the theatre cafe, we were introduced to our 2 guides-Richard and Joe as well as 2 volunteer helpers.
We were given a brief history of the theatre-the original theatre having been built in 1962. Local individuals and businesses had raised the £105,000 needed. It was the first modern theatre with a thrust stage arranging the auditorium around the stage. The RENEW project designed to restore and upgrade the theatre was launched in 2012. It was completed in July 2014 at a total cost of £22 million.
Dividing into 2 groups, we were shown all around the backstage areas walking along the corridors lined with large pictures of famous actors from previous productions. We visited the technical areas, which change for each production. We were all fascinated by the Wardrobe housing all the costumes for the current production of Fiddler on the Roof, which most of us had seen. (We saw Omid Djalili’s trousers hanging on a rail) One corridor had all the dressing rooms with the names of the actors using them on the doors. Each dressing room was identical-no special treatment for the stars of the show. Behind the stage we saw all the props needed for each performance-the candle sticks, suitcases, masks for the ghost scene, crates of pretend food, barrows.
And then the highlight of the tour. We were invited onto the stage itself with all the theatre lights shining onto us. Very special. Standing on stage, you seemed so close to the audience.
Finally as we made our way back to the foyer, we were shown a specially designed window on the south side of the theatre through which we could see the towering spire of Chichester Cathedral. Another Chichester icon.
Everyone agreed that this had been an excellent visit-so informative. Next time we go to see a production at CFT, we will know exactly what is going on ‘Behind the Scenes.
We had a fun and informative visit to Barfoots farm on a sunny, if rather chilly, evening in mid July.
We all parked up and made our way round to the tractor and trailer. Everyone made light work of climbing up onto the trailer and we were soon bumping over the farm tracks on the tour.
Katie has given me the notes she took (I couldn’t remember all the facts and figures) while listening to our entertaining guide.
Barfoots grow, process, pack and market sweetcorn, kale, courgettes and other semi exotic vegetables. The farm was set up by Peter Barfoot in the 1970’s and has grown to employ over 200 people. They supply the major supermarkets and restaurants. There is a 3-4 month UK growing season for their main crop, sweetcorn, and they import from around the world to provide a year round supply.
Their farming methods are sustainable and ethical. The waste from the crops goes to their anaerobic digester plant, which makes enough renewable energy to power 3000 homes a year and also produces a trailer of organic fertilizer per day. This is a ‘loop’ system producing very little waste.
The highlight of the tour came as the tractor took us along the main Chichester to Pagham road from the sweetcorn fields to the courgette fields amidst the rush hour traffic. The tractor wasn’t quick and the queue behind us stretched back to Chichester. There were many surprised faces from passers-by as we drove along chatting and laughing – maybe they were wondering if we were the latest picking crew.
At the end of the tour we were all given some delicious corn to take home.
A group of us from the dining group had a very pleasant night out in July at the Crate & Apple Pub in Chichester. Food was very good, a nice spacious room with space between the tables and pleasant ambiance. A little bit pricey perhaps, particularly for drinks but nonetheless I would recommend it.
On June 6th our WI evening walk challenged the June showery weather well!
We managed the walk along the river Arun and around Amberley with only the
slightest of showers. We were rewarded with a magnificent double rainbow.
What a delight – the company, the views and the rainbow.
Joan Hadaway, Flo Page and I had a recent trip to WI HQ for their Open Day. There we met Janice Langley (NFWI Chair), she came over to welcome us, I think especially as we were from West Sussex. The photo also shows Joy Thomson, chair of the membership committee. In true WI tradition we had delicious cakes with our coffee or tea. It was a very informative and interesting morning. Following a presentation by each team leader, we were shown all over the building and met the staff. We actually found an office full of men, a small office and only three men! We were able to ask questions wherever we went and the staff went out of their way to be helpful.
A moan we all had was about the advertising we receive with the WI Life. However, when you consider that all we have to do is recycle the leaflets, we were left thinking that the effort is worth it as it keeps down the cost to us of WI Life, so it’s not really a hardship.
Lunch was in a bistro opposite Parsons Green tube station. No coincidence that the bistro was full of WI members, this had nothing to do with the fact that they were offering a Kir Royal to all WI members, and the food was very good.
We took the tube to the Tower and were stunned at the sight of so many poppies, each one representing a life lost. More are being added all the time and the last one will be placed there on 11th November, after which the army of volunteers will post the poppies to the people who have bought them. It surprised me how many people were there to view the poppies.
A very enjoyable day, impeccably led by Flo and if you get the chance to visit the HQ next year, I would certainly recommend it.
The SCIFFLe group had a busy July, with a group trip to the Picturedrome cinema to see the superb ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’. This was followed a few days later by an evening at Margaret’s, where two very enjoyable games of ‘Star Trek Scrabble’ were played. This version of the game is played in exactly the same way as the normal one, but with a board bearing the likenesses of the original ‘Enterprise’ crew, and the addition of a list of Trek-related words that could gain bonus points if used. The group was delighted to welcome new member Debbie, seen in the photo with Margaret, Karen, Annie and Lesley.
The SCIFFLe group took a side-step into real science for the day on 16th August, when they organised a trip to see the Sir Patrick Moore 3D Exhibition, which is housed in the cricket pavilion in Selsey.
Though small in size – just a corner of the pavilion bar – the exhibit was big on information about the celebrated astronomer. Filled with genuine articles from Sir Patrick’s home, ‘Farthings’, the corner was filled with books on astronomy and cricket, souvenirs and artwork, the old typewriter on which he wrote all his books and articles, and even a (toy) cat. Tankards hung from hooks on the ceiling, and a small selection of the hundreds of shot glasses which Sir Patrick collected were arranged over his ‘study window’.
As a bonus, one of the cricket club members very kindly explained the meaning behind some of the items; and told us about Sir Patrick’s connection to the club. “He was such a lovely chap,” he said, reinforcing the message in the souvenir brochure we picked up.
With a delicious lunch at The Lifeboat Inn to round things off, we all agreed that it had been well worth the journey.
For more information on the SCIFFLe group (Science Fiction & Fantasy Ladies) click here.
At our April meeting local farmer Andrew Elms gave a very enjoyable talk about his farm, Lordington Lavender. As a result he arranged a special open day for us earlier this month.
The farm is in the heart of the green countryside, so to suddenly come across a field of lavender is quite stunning. Andrew gave us an interesting introduction and then we were free to wander along the rows of lavender and enjoy the views on what was a perfect Summer’s day.
At the end of our visit we enjoyed a nice cup of tea and delicious cakes provided by the ladies from the Inner Wheel charity.
There are other open days for the public, which are sadly finished for this year, but do look out for them next year as this is a visit highly recommended.