Thursday, 5 May 2011

Pictorial Breckland

Busy April meeting for WI
Old Buckenham Women’s Institute were delighted to welcome Trevor Burlingham to their April meeting. His talk was entitled ‘A walk through Breckland’ and was enhanced by some excellent photography. He described the flora and fauna of the "brecks" and made mention of the Scots pines which were planted some 100 to 150 years ago to act as hedges. Two ancient paths cross Breckland, the Icknield Way and the Peddars Way. Flint, of course, features in many Breckland's buildings, especially in a lot of the churches.
Trevor took his audience on a journey through the "pingo" trail - these are ponds surrounded by mounds of earth or gravel formed through pressure from a layer of water trapped between newly-frozen ice and underlying permafrost during the Ice Age. The walk is known officially as the Great Eastern Pingo Trail - an eight mile walk starting at what used to be Stow Bedon railway junction. He also mentioned the fact that four villages in the area (part of the Stanford Battle area) were taken over by the military during the last war. Wild flowers abound throughout the area and the Army do a lot of conservation work.
After the usual break for tea and chat, Susan Hunter reported on her recent visit to Norwich for the Annual Meeting of the Norfolk Federation. She was pleased to report that the recently formed WIs in the heart of Norwich are thriving - it certainly seems that the formation of WIs in cities has taken on in a big way. This year there were three main speakers at the meeting. Barbara Stevens (Chief Executive of Dementia UK) told the meeting of the work of Admiral Nurses who provide support for carers and family members. The second speaker was Professor Stephen Holgate from Southampton University who gave members an insight into new advances in treating conditions such as cancer and dementia. The third speaker, Deb Jordan, is the co-owner of Pensthorpe which is well known to many television viewers through its broadcast of the BBC Springwatch series.
Two of the Old Buckenham members - Pat Shearing and Barbara Ives - gave their reports on a recent visit to Denman College, the WI’s own college in Oxfordshire. Pat said she had a wonderful time on her four-day course studying Georgian England: an age of elegance. The course included one day spent in Bath. Barbara Ives’ course involved her in making silver jewellery and members were able to admire the wonderful items she had made during her course. Both of them recommended a visit to Denman College. The Old Buckenham WI gives an annual bursary of £150 to a member attending a Denman course and, in the draw held this year, this year's bursary recipient was Nancy Hunt who can use the money towards a course any time in 2012.
The WI had entered the recent Norfolk-wide ‘Cator Cup’ competition held at the Norfolk Show Ground. This year the theme was ‘A Night at the Movies’ and Old Buckenham had chosen to portray the Ascot scene from ‘My Fair Lady’. They came joint 8th out of 39 entries and the entry was re-created at the meeting for members to see.
The speaker at the next meeting on Thursday 23 June in Old Buckenham village hall will be Charles Garland and the title of his talk is ‘From Vicar's son to BBC producer’.

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