Contact: Julia Hayday; tel 01794-884110
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.
Are you looking for a new interest or new friends?
Calling all ladies in the Whiteparish and Sherfield English areas – are you new
to the area, looking for new interests or friends? Why not come along to the
Whiteparish Breakaway Club?
We are a friendly bunch of people with a wide range of interests, who meet
once a month in the lovely new Whiteparish Memorial Centre to listen to
interesting speakers, watch demonstrations, chat and enjoy a cup of tea or
coffee (with delicious cakes!) All this for a subscription of £20 per year!
We have a very varied programme arranged for next year (see below) and
welcome visitors to our meetings if you want to try before you buy. Our
meetings are always on the 3 rd Wednesday of the month, and start at 2.00
pm, finishing by 4.00pm, except that in August we arrange an outing with a
cream tea, and in December, we have a Christmas meal somewhere
interesting. In fact, as you will have noticed, delicious food and friendly
chatter are our raison d'être. There are also other items of interest which
members arrange and share, such as other outings, craft ideas, etc.
We would love to meet you, no need to book, just come along and be
assured of a friendly welcome. If you would like more information, our
Secretary, Julia, would be happy to help (01794 884110).
||AGM and social time
||Fabric threads and inspirations of my textiles – Jennifer Carter
||Can you see the stage? - Sheelagh Browne
||The history of makeup – Dinah Warnock
||The magic circle – Stephen Wells
||Wiltshire Air Ambulance
||Travels on a narrow boat – Susan Waldron
||Lady in the yellow caravan – Jane Glennie
||Life & times of Thomas Hardy – Diana Guetz
||The women of Wilton – Ros Liddington
Meeting Report: 21st February 2018
At our February meeting, the speaker was Jennifer Carter who gave us a talk entitled "Fabrics, threads and inspirations of my textiles". Jennifer originally had a career in graphics and worked for the BBC and some defence companies but was always interested in tiny work. She has travelled extensively visiting Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia, France, America and Alaska and all these places have been illustrated in her quilts and miniatures. Some of these were machine-stitched but many were hand-stitched and Jennifer explained the various patterns and techniques she had used. They were really beautifully made using various materials including buttons, leather and bone. Jennifer also makes bags and cards. It was truly a very inspiring talk. Our next meeting is on Wednesday 21 March, when our talk is “Can you see the stage?” by Shelagh Brown.
Visitors are always made very welcome.
Meeting Report: 17th January 2018
The January meeting was our Annual General Meeting, but as it was the fifth
anniversary of the founding of the club, the Committee under Sue King’s guidance,
brightened the occasion by turning it into a birthday party. The Cowesfield Room was
decorated with balloons and banners, and the formalities of the review of the year’s
activities, the presentation of the accounts, and committee elections were swiftly
dealt with. We were pleased to learn that our annual subscription had stayed at £20
(as it had been since the beginning) although speakers’ fees were continually
increasing. Of particular note was the fact that we had managed to donate £150 to
the Hall Trustees to be placed toward a kitchen upgrade.
In her review of the year,
Sue said how pleased she was that numbers had increased and said that
Breakaway was a place where you could always find a friend. Margaret Hargreaves
outlined the programme for the year (which also appeared in last month’s Steeple
and Street), and Gill Bray gave a brief report on the activities of the book club.
Formalities concluded, party games were played, entertainment by Sue and Anita
was applauded and we all enjoyed a birthday tea.
Our next meeting is on 21 February when Jennifer Carter will tell us about fabric
threads and her inspiring textiles. Do come, you will be made very welcome.
Meeting Report: 13th December 2017
The Breakaway club decided this year to break away from its usual tradition of providing a
Christmas lunch in the Memorial Centre, and opted instead to visit the Hook & Glove pub in
Farley, which offered a good choice of menu. Although one member was in hospital and
several more stricken down with various seasonal ailments, 19 members gathered at the
pub for drinks and an excellent meal. The pub thoughtfully provided a table where
members’ Christmas cards could be sorted and distributed and all the usual Christmas
favours of crackers and hats were enjoyed. One member, who shall remain nameless,
almost got left behind at the end as she was in the toilets when doors were locked, but all
turned out well and everyone voted the occasion a great success.
Above you can find news of our very varied programme for the coming year
and we hope to see even more of you, then. In the meantime, Breakaway wishes all its
readers a very happy 2018.
Meeting Report: 15th November 2017
Our meeting on 15th November was yet again very well attended. The speaker was Emma East on “Creative Flowers”. She runs her own floristry business from home and came to demonstrate several arrangements to give us inspiration for Christmas.
Most of the arrangements were of a “minimalist” design where less material is used. A number of different ideas were presented and basic techniques explained and demonstrated so that there was something for the expert and the less experienced flower arrangers amongst us.
A slice of a log had holes drilled in it and twigs of berries and fir cones were glued in. Spray glitter or snow was used to cover any glue showing. In another arrangement, a vase or tumbler had sticks of cinnamon stuck on all round which was very effective. Foliage was placed in the tumbler until they supported each other then a focal point of spray roses or eryngium flowers added. This could be used as a table decoration.
Other arrangements included a wreath made from honeysuckle intertwined with jasmine; a Christmas tree made from pine branches hung with baubles; decorations made from shaped soft aluminium wire wrapped round a tube which was then removed and the wires spread out into shapes to hang on a tree or elsewhere.
We thanked Emma very much for her good ideas and enthusiasm. She holds various workshops to make wreaths, Christmas flowers, etc.
The December meeting will be our Christmas Lunch on Wednesday, 13th December at the Hook and Glove at Farley. Names were finalised, orders taken and transport arranged.
Meeting Report: 18th October 2017
Our meeting on 18th October was, as last month. very well attended, with several visitors. Steve Herra came to talk about "Glamorous Stars and Cunard Ships". He was extremely well qualified to talk about Cunard, being of the third generation of his family who have worked for them after his father and grandmother. He served aboard the QE2 as purser.
Cruise liners were developed because sailing ships were not reliable and took six weeks to cross the Atlantic. Samuel Cunard (1787-1836) set up the company eventually known as the Cunard Line. He and his daughter Ann sailed in their first ship, Britannia, in July 1840. It was a paddle steamer and the crossing took 13 days. There were 63 passengers with celebrities like Charles Dickens aboard, and we heard his description of life on Britannia.
Steve took us through the progression of famous ships, gradually improving their facilities to include libraries, bathtubs, and electric light. We saw slides of their equally. famous passengers including the youthful Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman. The Arabia in 1854 carried the horses used in the charge of the Light Brigade. We heard how the prompt actions of the radio operator on the Carpathia in 1912 enabled 706 passengers aboard the Titanic to be rescued; 1500 perished.
We came right up to date with the present Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. The next new super liner is due in 2022. We thanked Steve for a fascinating history of Cunard ships which kept us all spellbound.
The Christmas Lunch is to be held on Wednesday, 13th December at the Hook and Glove at Farley. Names were taken of those who are able to come and what they would like to eat. The list will also be at the November meeting. Do come along to our November meeting on the 15th at 2pm in the Memorial Hall. The talk will be "Creative Flowers": a presentation by Emma East.
Meeting Report: 20th September 2017
Our meeting on the 20th September was very well attended, with several visitors/new members.
Jane Glennie came to talk to us about “Suffering Suffragettes”. She provides a theatrical
interlude to present a moment in women’s history - this time “votes for women”. She
adopted a hat and pose and presented herself as the new self-appointed chairman of the
Whiteparish Votes for Women campaign! We were transported back to 1913 and asked to
choose whether we wanted to be “suffragists” or “suffragettes”. She spoke forcefully and
presented us with all the facts, entertaining us by answering imaginary “nuisances” in our
midst and providing lots of laughs. It was a good way to learn about the campaign and kept
us all engaged until we voted at the end to be suffragettes, who were active and passionate,
compared with the suffragists who had been in action since 1830 and not achieved much.
After brief notices and reports on members who were not well, we enjoyed our usual
generous tea and cakes.
Do come along to our October meeting on the 18th at 2pm in the
Memorial Hall. Steve Herra will be telling us about “Glamorous Stars and Cunard Ships”.
Meeting Report: 16th August 2017
As a change from our usual meeting venue in the Cowesfield Room, a large number of the
Breakaway members visited the Longstock Park Nursery, Farm Shop and Café for the now
established and much anticipated August Cream Tea. Despite the somewhat unpredictable
weather in the days before our outing, the day was 'Goldilocks' – not too hot, not too cold,
just warm and sunny.
The café had reserved a corner just for us and had set a table laden with a pile of the most
enormous scones I had ever seen, (delicious, though), a snowy mountain of cream and a
dish of very fruity strawberry jam, from which to help ourselves. Accompanied by an
unending supply of tea and coffee, we all settled down to eat and chat. To use up some of
the calories consumed, members then prowled around the farm shop, and the extensive
nursery, and finally made our contented way home.
The next meeting will be back in the Memorial Centre on 20 September when we will hear
about 'Suffering Suffragettes' from Jane Glennie.
Meeting Report: 19th July 2017
After a very hot meeting day last month, temperatures returned to a more normal level for our July meeting and despite several members enjoying holidays, a good number of people gathered to hear John Richards, a Guernseyman who now lives locally, tell us of the events leading up to the invasion of Guernsey in 1940, and how this affected his family.
In 1940. the Channel Islanders could hear the guns in Northern France and knew that Hitler wanted the islanders to form part of the ‘Atlantic Wall’ of defence. On the 19th June, the islanders of Guernsey were told that the Nazis were going to invade and occupy the island and that women and children would be evacuated. Hasty preparations were made, although some people refused to leave. So many animals had to be put down that the vets couldn't cope. One suitcase each was allowed to be taken and a pram or pushchair if a child was not yet walking. Each family was allocated one life jacket and terrible decisions had to be made as to who got to use it. Eighty per cent of the children were evacuated.
John's mother, aunt and 6 month old brother David initially arrived in Southampton, but the refugees were not well received and moved from place to place eventually ending up in Penrhyn in Cornwall, where his mother, a trained hairdresser, got a number of jobs cleaning, sewing and hairdressing to make ends meet. They then moved to Rochdale to stay with friends, but as is often the case, this didn't work out and so John's mother with her son, now 21 months old, moved to Halifax, to a rat-infested house with a difficult landlord. By October 1941, they had had 12 homes in 12 months. Mrs Richards, however, was a regular churchgoer and they were offered accommodation in the vicarage, which worked out well.
Back in Guernsey in 1942, food was running out, people were having to eat their remaining pets or starve to death and on the 7 October, 1003 people were illegally deported from Guernsey and Sark. John's grandparents were deported to Germany because although his grandfather was a Guernseyman, his grandmother was English.
Fortunately, for this family, there was a happy ending. Grandparents returned to the island and John's father returned from the war, reunited with his wife and son who by then were returning via Cardiff and the whole family shipped from Weymouth back to the island. John himself was born in 1946, but many of the details of his talk were taken from a book written by his brother.
Janette Munro then thanked John Richards and members were reminded that the 16th August meeting would be an outing to Longstock Park Nursery for a cream tea.
Meeting Report: 21st June 2017
We had a good turnout for our meeting held on the longest day of the year on what turned out to
be the hottest day in the UK since 1976! We kept cool by leaving open the two doors onto the
patio and getting a lovely breeze.
Our speaker was Gordon Lewis who now lives in Totton but has very strong family ties to Whiteparish–both his mother and grandfather were born in The Lynches (previously known as The Old Workhouse) and
his parents were the first people to be married in the chapel!
His topic was "Pop, Politics and Parties" and turned out to be about the Eurovision Song Contest. There
were many song contests in Europe before WW2 (eg. The Salzburg Song Contest won by the family Von
Trapp in The Sound of Music) In order to rebuild cultural ties after the war, it was decided in 1950 by the
European Broadcasting Union (which included the BBC) meeting in Torquay, to set up a European Song
Contest. However it was not until 1953 with the live TV broadcast of the Coronation to the Commonwealth
that the technology existed to make this a Eurovision contest.
The first one was held in Lugano in 1956 and won by the French. We heard an excerpt from the winning
song. The next contest is held in the country of the winner. It was not until 1997 that the UK won with
Katrina and The Waves singing Love Shine A Light. This is still in song books used by primary school children
today. The following year the contest was held in Birmingham. Luckily for him, 1997 was the first year
Gordon attended the contest as a freelance journalist. He went every year until 2006 when it was held in
Then Gordon explained how the "Politics" and "Parties" came into the contests. Each country voting has 12
points to award; some will always award all their points to one country–Greece to Cyprus and vice versa;
Russia to Azerbaijan. Some will never give any points to a country–France to UK!, Armenia to Azerbaijan
and vice versa. World events also influence the voting; in 1974 the timing of President Pompidou’s election
meant that the unknown Abba from Sweden won the contest with Waterloo rather than the favourite.
We thanked Gordon for his fascinating talk and then had a very refreshing and welcome cup of tea with
sandwiches and cakes. Thank you so much Julia and Pat for providing this in all that heat.
The business covered the results of our stall at the fete. Takings were slightly down this year but we will
cover the rent for our meetings next year. Thank you to all our customers.
We noted that we have a change of speaker for July. The meeting on the 19th will be John Richards talking
about his mother’s experiences as an evacuee from Guernsey in WW2.
Our cream tea outing on August l6th will be to the Leckford farm shop cafe near Stockbridge.
We presented a small gift to Barbara Jones in recognition of her many years as Secretary both to the former
afternoon WI group and to the Breakaway club. Barbara will now be "on the back benches" and Julia
Hayday will take on the role of Secretary.
Meeting Report: 17th May 2017
This month’s meeting caused a few headaches for the committee!
Firstly, the eagerly awaited repairs to the car park meant that some of our less
physically able members would have problems accessing the hall. We thought we’d
sorted that out with the Trustees who were willing to open the Romsey Road gates for
access, providing of course that the grass wasn’t too wet.
Guess what? After weeks of dry weather, the heavens opened and that plan went out
of the window.
On the (very wet) morning of the meeting, the planned speaker got in touch to say he
was very sorry, but with the weather so bad, he didn’t want to risk his Roman
artefacts getting spoiled if they had to be carried in the rain from Romsey Road to the
Julia Hayday to the rescue! At an earlier committee meeting, she had told us that
husband Mike would prepare some quiz questions in case we needed an emergency
fill in. That day had come!
Members had fun completing the quiz; had a good natter and, as usual, enjoyed a
very nice tea.
Meeting Report: 19th April 2017
The members of Breakaway have enjoyed some memorable speakers over the years and following last month's excellent talk by a wildlife artist, we were treated to another sparkling talk by Barbara Townsend on 'How to self publish children's books'. I must admit that I did not anticipate that this talk would be as absorbing as it turned out. Barbara is a lively and engaging speaker and had her audience really engaged.
She became very interested in the history of the big bellied oaks in Savernake Forest and decided to write a children's adventure story using the trees as a location (and as characters in the tale). She spent many months researching the whole area of Savernake forest and finally started her writing. She decided not to go to a formal publisher, as it is quite difficult to get accepted. She persuaded the editor of her local magazine to edit her work, found a printer in Andover, an illustrator for the cover and pictures to accompany the stories, and using her background in sales and marketing, set about selling her book. She managed to persuade local bookshops to take a few copies, used Amazon, tourist offices, etc. and submitted articles to local newspapers and magazines, including Wiltshire Life.
Barbara then went on to write more books, using Old Harry Rock near Swanage as a background, Stonehenge, and the legend of the White Stag. She admitted that there is not a lot of money in self-publishing, but each book has funded the costs of writing and producing the next one. The books are very attractive, well presented and aimed at ages 7–12 or Key Stage 2 children, and are very reasonably priced. Barbara then read one of the stories to us. She doesn't "talk down" to her readers and uses some challenging words, believing that if the stories are good enough, children will want to read and learn.
After this very interesting talk, we had a chance to talk to Barbara over tea and cakes and to buy books at a discounted rate for the afternoon. Our next meeting is on 17 May and is about "Roman Army finds, fact and fiction" which promises to keep up our very high standard.
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
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.
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.
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 £20 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'.
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.
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 £125 which will be used towards the provision of a bench near the children's play area.
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.
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.
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
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'.
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.
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?}
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.
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
Our next meeting is on 18 th May when the talk is on Physio in Afghanistan.
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
£35,000. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.