Contact: Barbara Jones; tel 01794-885785

Towards the end of 2012, after being in existence for 66 years, the then membership of the Whiteparish Women's Institute decided to leave the National Federation of WIs.

Instead, the Breakaway Club was founded, which runs a somewhat similar programme of activities.

Meeting Report: 15th March 2017

On a beautifully warm and sunny afternoon, the Breakaway club were pleased to welcome a number of visitors from local art groups to listen to Kim Thompson, a very talented commercial wildlife illustrator and artist. Kim, whose graduation from art college in Wales, included studies in animal anatomy, wildlife, etc. now provides natural history illustrations for publishers, & advertising agencies and produces amazing wildlife studies for herself. Her work has included illustrations for book jackets, children's books, posters, magazines, wine labels, etc. and frequently involves working to a deadline, (occasionally involving working 17 hours a day or working through the night!) She produced examples of book illustrations showing anatomical drawings such as beetles with wing-cases open and closed and close- ups of insects.

Kim travels extensively for her work, returning often to Botswana where she has a small charity which teaches a small class of children to produce paintings which they can sell to help support their families. At the end of the week, each child gets a pair of shoes, trousers and top. She has travelled to the Himalayas, climbing above base camp, to sketch and paint the rocks and mountains for use in painting snow leopards, and whilst these beautiful creatures will not pose for her, she is able to study how they move, make quick sketches, and then visit Marwell Zoo to get close details. She once joined a group of fellow artists for a week on the Bass Rock, sketching gannets and shearwaters, (and getting covered in guano!).

Kim brought along a number of large canvases of large cats and of owls, so realistically depicted they looked as though they were coming out of the paintings.

Members and guests then enjoyed the usual tasty tea and cakes and spent some time closely examining Kim's work.

Our next meeting is on April 19th when Barbara Townsend will tell us how to self-publish children's books. We always welcome visitors.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 15th February 2017

This month we enjoyed a highly amusing talk from Janet Bache who is a home dog boarder. Janet, who trained as a nurse, began looking after dogs in her own home after her own beagle died. She trades as JB Dog Care and has an animal boarding licence which entails her home and garden being inspected each year for its suitability. She also took a canine psychology course and her philosophy is to be kind to her dogs, know their breed traits and treat them accordingly (let the spaniels get wet and muddy, give large dogs lots of exercise, etc.- all with the owners' permission) and aim to give the dogs a happy holiday. Her largest boarder has been a Great Dane and the smallest a teacup chihuahua (not at the same time!)

Her dogs get bus rides, forest walks, ball games, beach runs, and car rides – one dog refused to sit anywhere but in the front passenger seat and spent the whole journey restrained by the human seat belt!

Janet has an impressive questionnaire which she requires owners to complete, so that dogs get exactly what they get at home – some arrive with just their food and a lead, others with toys, blankets, duvets, cushions, bowls etc. Janet keeps a daily diary of what she and the current dogs do, so that she can report to the owners on their return, or they get sent emails and pictures from their animals! She only has two dogs at any one time and has two big sofas so that they can relax. By the end of the talk, most members were wishing they could book in for a holiday themselves, and be pampered by Janet.

During tea, members looked at the many photos of the dogs enjoying their holidays and were impressed reading the diaries and questionnaires.

Our next meeting is on March 15th and will include a talk on Wildlife Painting by Kim Thompson. Anyone who is interested will be welcome to join us.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 18th January 2017

This was Breakaway's 3rd AGM, having been 'born' in January 2013 out of the old Whiteparish afternoon WI. Far from the usual boring AGM, it was a lively afternoon of reminiscence, since Janette Munro announced that she was standing down as President. Since Janette had held this post (and its equivalent in WI) for many years, this was the end of an era. Ann Craik related stories of past events and outings, Veronica Iles brought along a photograph album, showing Janette in her many roles during the last 30 years, in WI, and told some scandalous tales (!), whilst Margaret Chase had written a poem (reproduced below). Flowers and a card were presented to Janette, who is not leaving, merely joining the rest of us 'rank & file' members.

Reports of the year's activities, including those of the book club, were read and a healthy set of accounts presented, with the welcome news that subs will remain unchanged at ฃ20 for the year. Two new committee members were welcomed, the 2017 committee being Barbara Jones, Denise Bell, Sue King, Margaret Hargreaves, Anita Boakes and Julia Hayday. A very interesting programme of events for the year has been arranged, and as our membership continues to rise, we hope that these will attract even more people to our friendly meetings, the next being on 15 February, going 'Behind the Scenes of a Home Dog Boarder'.

Gill Bray

A poem for Janette

I've known Janette for many a year.
And she has always made it clear
That helping others was her intent
And she did just what she meant.
The W.I. was a long time friend
Interest in Committee came to an end
She took the Chair and kept us straight
Then Breakaway came as a welcome date.
Hundred+ night kept Janette looking
For people who would do some cooking.
The Village Hall, Garden Club and History Group
Were all within our Janette's loop.
Mother of four and devoted wife
She still had time for Village life,
And now she wants to have a rest
We wish her all the Very Best.

Party Report! 10th December 2016 (excerpts from Sue King's report in Steeple and Street)

A great time was had by all at the annual Supper for the 100+ Club. This event raises funds to assist the running of our Memorial Centre. The profit raised this year was just over £700. Thank-yous go to Breakaway club members, who delivered invitations; made food; helped set up the hall and clear away; sold raffle tickets.

The Breakaway club was happy to take on the challenge of organising the event.

Meeting Report: Christmas Lunch, 7th December

It was all change again for Breakaway this month. Back in the Cowesfield Room at the Memorial Centre following our trip to Wyevale in November, and at 12.30 pm on the 7 th for a sumptuous Christmas lunch, prepared by our ever diligent catering committee. Listing what wasn't available would be easier than noting what was, but suffice to say that no-one went hungry or thirsty.

There were crackers, quizzes, cards, raffles, table prizes – everything to make the party go with a swing – and judging by the chatter and laughter, everyone enjoyed themselves. We were sorry that not everyone could make it due to illness or other reasons, but the large number that did were reluctant to leave at the end and had been especially pleased to see those who had been absent for some time who had been able to return.

Anita Boakes thanked the hard working committee on behalf of all present.

We will be back in the Cowesfield Room for our next meeting on 18 January for our AGM and other entertainment, but subs will be payable in February as our treasurer will not be at the January meeting. Happy New Year to all members and those considering joining our happy club.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 16th November 2016

For their November meeting a large number of members gathered at the Wyevale Garden Centre at Landford for a demonstration of Christmas floral decorations. Using both fresh flowers including roses and alstroemeria and foliage, interspersed with artificial berries, baubles and a candle, Tina quickly produced an attractive table centre decoration. Then she turned her talents to a wreath for the front door and, again using a mix of fresh and artificial material, this time with pine cones, ribbon and a robin, a very pretty wreath was produced. These two items were then raffled and two lucky members went home delighted with their prize.

Sue King then outlined the details for next month's Christmas lunch. Members should note that it will be held in the Cowesfield Room on 7th December at 12.30 for 1.00pm. Sue also noted that the Club had made a donation to the Memorial Ground Trust of ฃ125 which will be used towards the provision of a bench near the children's play area.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 19th October 2016

Breakaway members were transported to the world of musical theatre for their October meeting. The presenter was Lynda Warren from Swindon who admitted to having been fascinated by theatre and musicals in particular from an early age. She worked backstage concerned with costumes and props and when she met her husband, also in the theatre, they moved into an independent company, providing props, costumes etc. She explained that a production requires brains, heart and courage–just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz–and involves writers, directors, choreographers, set and costume, sound and lighting designers.

Interspersed with anecdotes about various productions, Lynda then proceeded to play a song from each of nine musicals, covering the golden age from Oklahoma to Hair. She provided words for people to follow their favourites and told us that when she worked on costumes for a production of West Side Story it was her job to check the men's trousers after the show in case the seams had given way during the energetic dancing. In a later production, P J Proby had played the part of Tony (with his record, her services may well have been needed!).

Lionel Bart, who wrote Oliver, could neither read nor write music but was a brilliant pianist and composed the music in his head – he also wrote "Living Doll" for Cliff Richard and "Little White Bull" for Tommy Steele. Before playing "Good Morning Starshine" from Hair, Lynda told us she took a 90-yr old lady to a production and when the young cast emerged at the end of the first act without their clothes, this lady sat up and said loudly “If I had known this was going to happen, I would have brought my glasses!”

Lynda was warmly thanked for her very entertaining talk, which had produced memories for members of all ages. Sue King then provided details of future activities that Breakaway would be involved with, and reminded members that the next meeting will be at Wyevale Garden Centre for a Christmas floral demonstration.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 21st September 2016

The September meeting of Breakaway was somewhat depleted due to a number of members enjoying late holidays and more than a few recovering from illnesses and surgery. To add to this number, the advertised speaker was also ill, but we were delighted to welcome Sue Grafton who kept us entertained with her talk on the history, crafts and customs of canal narrow-boats.

Dressed in the costume of a Victorian woman who lived and worked aboard a narrow boat, Sue told us that the first canal – the Fosdyke – was constructed by the Romans and ran from Peterborough to the river Trent. Henry ll carried out repairs in1154! By the time of the Industrial Revolution there were 4,000 miles of canals in England and Wales, of which around 3,000 still exist today.

The average cabin of a canal boat was around 6 ft 3 inches by 9 ft 6 inches. Not much room to live, cook, eat and sleep for what was frequently a large family. The kitchen area had a stove, a 2 ft cupboard which a door which folded down for use as a table and one drawer. During the Victorian era, these boats were decorated with beautifully painted flowers and the women crafted delicate pieces of crocheted 'lace' to embellish windows, covers, trays, etc. Sue had some beautiful examples to show.

During World War ll, canals became very important for transporting goods as rail lines and roads were frequently bombed. The boats were often crewed by two or three women who lived aboard and because they were unable to register ration books were allowed to take from fields by which they were moored sufficient produce to provide one meal.

Following her talk and questions from members, Sue stayed to tea with us and Janette Munro gave details of recent committee changes and of next month's meeting which will be 'Songs from the Shows' presented by Lynda Warren, at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 19th October, in the Cowesfield Room.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 17th August 2016

The Breakaway club celebrated the long awaited glorious summer weather with a visit to Breamore House tea garden for a summery cream tea. Seated around tables in the shade of the trees, we enjoyed delicious scones (I threatened to buy some to pass off as my own at the Garden Club show!), individual pots of jam and cream all complemented by excellent pots of tea. The staff were lovely and waited on us with friendly good humour.

Tea over, some of us elected to visit the countryside museum adjacent to the tea rooms whilst the rest decided to relax and chat in the shade. The museum was a real Tardis (bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside) and was a great treasure house of every aspect of countryside life in the early years of the last century. The only worrying thought was how many of the items on display we could all remember in our grandmother's kitchen or grandfather's workshop/shed. Some people still had these items (inherited, we were assured)!

The afternoon was a really enjoyable occasion, with thanks to the organisers from all who attended.

Our next meeting will be back in the Cowesfield Room on Wednesday 21st September when we will hear Roger Grier treating us to 'Humour and poetry in the garden'.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 20th July 2016

We met on a very hot day but luckily there was a pleasant breeze through the Cowesfield Room with the doors open! There were not so many of us this time as some were on holiday.

We had a very lively and interesting talk from Di Herrett who lives in the village and has been a guide at Mottisfont for the past 8 years. She gave us a history of the National Trust property; it was never an Abbey but an Augustinian Priory founded in 1201. At the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII gave Mottisfont to William Sandys of the Vyne of Basingstoke and since then the estate has been in private hands. In 1957 Maud Russell gave the property to the National Trust. Di asked us to guess how many volunteers there are running the house and estate and we got nowhere near the 420 there are! She told us of the many benefits of volunteering and that there are lots of opportunities available.

We thanked Di very much for her talk and then we enjoyed delicious tea and cakes and social time. We were sorry to hear that Jean Halliday, a long-standing member, will no longer be able to attend meetings as she has moved to a retirement village where she is very happy. Her contact details are with the Secretary.

Our August meeting is the annual cream tea outing, this year to Breamore House. Let Sue King know if you prefer sandwiches/cakes to cream tea and she will see if this is possible. Meet at 2pm at the Memorial Ground car park to share cars on 17th August.

Anita Boakes

Meeting Report: 15th June 2016

How else would the Breakaway Club celebrate the Queen's 90th Birthday but with a right royal tea party! Due to the capricious June weather (doesn't the Queen always seem to get bad weather?), the party, which had been planned as a garden party on the Memorial Ground, was held in the hall.

The Cowesfield room was dressed overall with bunting, flags, colourful tableware, flowers and crackers! Hats were de rigeur, many beautifully hand decorated in red white and blue and many guests also managed to assemble patriotic colours in their outfits. A loyal toast was drunk to her Majesty, proposed by our President, Janette Munro, and we were delighted to welcome her husband Don as one of our own special group of 90+ guests.

The food contributed by everyone, was truly fit for a Queen and included coronation chicken rolls, smoked salmon sandwiches, cream meringues, and chocolate and strawberries in abundance.

Next month there will be a talk from a Mottisfont guide and then in August, we will all visit Breamore \House for a cream tea (oh dear, whatever happens to the diet?}

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 18th May 2016

The club members this month were transported to Afghanistan by the speaker, Jeanne Hartley. Jeanne is a long-term friend of member Barbara Jones and is a physiotherapist.

She told us how by chance some years ago she had met a retired colleague who had volunteered in Afghanistan. She casually said "that was something she might like to do" and 2 weeks later she received a telephone call from Sandy Gall! He had set up an appeal in 1983, initially to obtain good quality artificial limbs for use in the war-ravaged country. That charitable work then extended to cover other medical issues.

Jeanne began her talk by showing us slides and explaining some of the history of the country—"Afghanistan, where God comes to weep". We heard how there are 20 ethnic tribes in the country who are always fighting each other unless there is a foreign intervention when they band together and repel the foreigners. There is abject poverty now in most places but the mosques are still beautifully maintained.

When the Taliban had control, schooling was not allowed for girls after the age of 8, and boys were not allowed to learn history or maths. Now everyone is desperate to catch up. There is a population of 31 million, 40% of whom are under 14 years of age. Most people in their early 20s want to leave.

The charity Jeanne volunteers for trains Afghans to look after their own. Jeanne is the physiotherapist in the team which also has 2 orthopaedic surgeons, as well as paramedics and other medical associated staff. The classes they run are very well attended. Club feet are a major problem as well as hip dislocation in babies. Jeanne described how they use very clever locals to make things like wheelchairs, walking frames and surgical shoes.

It was a fascinating insight which all present appreciated. Members were reminded about the planned tea party next month to celebrate the Queens 90th birthday and also about items required for our stall at the fete.

Sue King

Meeting Report: 20th April 2016

The Breakaway club gathered on a sunny afternoon to watch a fascinating demonstration of silver jewellery making. Hilary Bowen, who teaches the subject in Breamore, took us through the process of this interesting craft. She explained that she used silver clay which is imported mostly from Japan and consists of silver dust and particles, organic binder and water. The resulting product is purer than sterling silver being 99% proof. It is very malleable but needs to be kept moist. Hilary takes the inspiration from her jewellery from nature and makes pendants, earrings, brooches, etc. using leaves, shells, small starfish skeletons and other natural items.

For our demonstration she used two tiny mussel shells from Hamble beach, pressed them into moulding putty, and then pressed the rolled out silver clay into the mould. This was then fired with a small gas gun, then brushed with a suede brush. The result was a most enchanting pair of small shell earrings, matching an earlier made necklace of slightly larger mussel shells. The whole process took about 30 minutes.

Hilary was thanked by Janette Munro and members were then able to admire more of Hilary's exquisite handiwork, and also to purchase if so desired. We then enjoyed delightful cakes and tea and heard updates from various members of other club activities.

Our next meeting is on 18 th May when the talk is on Physio in Afghanistan.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 16th March 2016

Tony Phillips was the speaker for Breakaway's March meeting. His illustrated topic was the Fovant Badges. These are the white chalk badges that can be seen carved into the hillside above the village of Fovant on the A30 towards Bath and the talk was very topical as the badges celebrate their centenary this year.

In the first two years of the first World War, 250,000 soldiers were camped in the fields between 4 and 10 miles west of Wilton, many of them from East London Rifle Brigades. As military personnel will know, their regimental cap badges are a great source of pride, identity and the enduring stability of their regiment and the badges on the hillside were all carved out by the serving soldiers in their spare time – mostly at night. Many were not much more than a pile of stones, which have not survived. The slope on which they are situated is very steep and the designs were completed with the aid of semaphore signals from the road below.

100 years on the badges are deteriorating and need costly maintenance. Of the original 20 badges only 9 remain, one of the most prominent being the Australian Military Forces badge, for which the costs of repairs are paid annually by the Australian government. It is estimated that to weed & rechalk 2 to 3 badges will cost ฃ35,000. Tony explained how the badges are recut and reinforced and told us that the site has now acquired Ancient Monument Status. It is proposed to cut a new badge for the centenary in the simple shape of a poppy. This will be dedicated at a service when it is completed and a TV programme made of the work.

Further information is available in the lay-by in Fovant with a number of photographs in the nearby pub.

Two members had made Easter chicks with chocolate egg fillings and these were sold to members with profits to Breakaway funds.

At our next meeting, we will learn about jewellery making.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 17th February 2016

For our second meeting of the year, our speaker was Bridget Duff who is a dietitian at Salisbury District Hospital and her talk was entitled Diet and Better Bones. This might have been a rather dull and worthy subject, but Bridget proved to be an entertaining speaker with a very impressive range of props. She began by explaining different types of bones with reference to a diagram of a skeleton and illustrated healthy bone by a slice through a Milky Way, the chocolate being the hard outer bone and the soft inside, the dense but porous centre! As we age and bone density thins, Bridget showed us a slice through an Aero bar - a very graphic illustration.

She told us that although bone thinning or osteoporosis is largely considered to be a female condition, 1 in 10 men over the age of 45 have some form of the condition. To slow down the onset, we should take weight-bearing exercise, and avoid excess alcohol and smoking. Bridget showed us many examples of food containing calcium to keep bones healthy, including cheese, skimmed milk, sardines & pilchard (bones in),spinach, broccoli, oranges, dried figs, etc. We also need vitamin D to help absorb the calcium and this can come from 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight a day as well as eggs, oily fish, etc.

We then all enjoyed tea and sandwiches and cake, but in view of the weather, alas, no sunshine that day!

Our next meeting will be a talk on the Teffont badges, on Wednesday 16th March at 2.00 pm in the Memorial Centre. Some members are also meeting at the monthly coffee meetings in the Memorial Centre and more will be welcome to join us.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 20th January 2016

In the first (and mercifully short) cold snap of the winter, the Breakaway Club held its January meeting in the Cowesfield Room. This was the occasion of its' third Annual General Meeting. Janet Munro opened the meeting by welcoming new members and long standing ones and thanked her committee for the work they had done during the previous year to provide an interesting and welcoming programme. Barbara Jones then summed up all the various activities we had enjoyed during the year and said it was a pleasure to work with a committee with such energy, efficiency and most importantly, a good sense of humour. Denise Bell produced a very sound set of accounts showing that the club was in good shape and that subs did not need to rise this year.

The committee were re-elected en bloc and Sue King gave details of this year's programme which looks very varied and interesting, including plans to mark the Queen's 90th birthday in June. Gill Bray updated us on the activities of the book club (which included reading books!) and Ann Craik asked for suggestions for the craft group to make items for a charity.

Following this, Pam Leader organised two very hilarious paper games, one of which entailed all the ladies turning out their handbags – with astonishing results!

As usual, the tea provided was delightful and ample and everyone agreed it had been a most entertaining afternoon – which cannot always be said of an AGM. Our next meeting is on 17 February when Bridget Duff will talk about osteoporosis and general health.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 9th December 2015 (Christmas Lunch)

For their December meeting, 28 members of the Breakaway Club enjoyed a very convivial Christmas lunch in the Memorial Hall. The food had been prepared by the Committee and every possible item of Christmas fare was provided, along with wine, served by members of the Committee. There were crackers, table decorations (which one lucky person on each table took home) and a free raffle.

Everyone had a good time catching up with friends; and Ann Craik proposed a very heartfelt vote of thanks to the Committee for all their hard work.

The January meeting will be our AGM followed by some of our older members revealing details of their sometimes colourful early lives! New members always welcomed to this popular club.

Gill Bray

Meeting Report: 18th November 2015

Members sat in enthralled silence as this month's speaker, Sandra Simmonds, appeared entirely veiled in a chador, and then, throwing this to the floor, spent most of the next hour describing her life in Iran in the 1970s.

At the age of 18 she had joined the Wrens and was stationed at HMS Collingwood, when she met and fell in love with an officer from an Iranian ship based in Portsmouth. Although he was 15 years her senior, she was totally enthralled and made a couple of trips to Iran whilst on leave. On her second visit, her boyfriend told her she would marry him and presented her with her wedding dress! Despite much opposition from the navy and from both sets of parents, they married in the UK and his mother had to get written permission from his father to come to the UK for the wedding. Following the wedding her mother-in-law travelled with them on their honeymoon, sharing their bedroom, on their journey back to Iran. Once there, Sandra was not allowed to leave her room for 6 weeks and then only allowed out, completely covered in a chador and walking 7 steps behind her husband. On one occasion, someone trod on her chador from behind and ripped it off to reveal T-shirt and shorts (it was a very hot day) and every woman in the vicinity attacked Sandra, hitting, scratching and kicking her.

She was allowed to bath or shower once a month, but had to pray 5 times a day and must wash hands, face and feet before this. Clothes could only be washed once a month. After 9 months, her father-in-law, (who hitherto had refused to meet her) asked to meet her and she had to knock on his door, keep her eyes downcast and speak only when spoken to. She was not allowed to keep her own passport and required her husband's written permission to leave the country. Had she had children, they would not have been allowed to leave.

After the Shah was deposed, Ayatollah Khomeini decreed that men could take more than one wife, so Sandra's husband brought another wife to live with them. In 1981, they tried to flee the war-torn country, crossing to Azerbaijan then to Ankara, with the aid of a Kurdish friend, eventually arriving in Italy, to fly home to England. They were detained at Heathrow for questioning for more than 8 hours. Five weeks later the second wife arrived and Sandra's husband wanted to buy a house for all three of them.

Breakaway members are now all agog to hear the next instalment of a life so different from the Western tradition, but this must wait for a while. Details were given of their Christmas Lunch to be held on 9 December at 12.30 pm., and they then enjoyed tea and tasty sandwiches and cakes.

Gill Bray

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