Previous Talks

Watch this space for details of our talks once they've happened.....


May 2017: Beekeeping, Eunice Carter

We had an excellent speaker in May, her name was Eunice Carter, and she spoke about her adventures in Bee Keeping.  She started off by explaining about the structure and hierarchy of the hive.  Did you know that the Queen gives birth to only a handful of male bees (who are much smaller than her) the rest are female worker bees.  The male bees don’t really have any other function than being sperm donors to her!  The ladies are responsible for nursing the developing baby bees and going out collecting nectar and pollen.

Eunice is a member of the West Suffolk Bee Keepers association she explained that it is a buzzing group promoting good bee keeping skills; the website is well worth a look.  We tried some of Eunice’s honey.  It was interesting to taste different honey from different times of the year.  Depending upon what the bees are feeding on at the time influences the taste of the honey.  We also got to eat straight from the comb – it was divine!

April 2017: Cally in the Community, Cally Boardman 

More information to follow

March 2017: Tudor Clothing, Jacquie Norman

The March open meeting welcomed lots of visitors. Our speaker, Jacqui Norman, gave a demonstration of Tudor dress, much to everyone’s enjoyment.  The members and visitors were fascinated to hear about the various materials that the Tudors had available to them, and the strict hierarchy concerning the wearing of them.   The evening was enhanced with some lovely baked goods brought along by the members.

February 2017: Patchwork and Quilting, Marion Curnow

The speaker for February was WI member Marion Curnow who gave a talk on her passion for quilting and patchwork.  We were introduced to Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs and Layer Cakes and lots of other quilting terminology. Marion showed us a selection of the beautiful quilts, bags, table covers and lots more that she had made.

January 2017: No meeting

December 2016: Book reading, Helen Houghton

There was a very festive atmosphere at the December meeting of the Lawshall W.I.  as members were treated to mulled wine and mince pies.  
The speaker for December was member Helen Houghton who entertained the group with a chapter from her debut novel 12Days@Christmas.  We heard a tale of Santa’s least favourite elf Rufus Day and his antics.  Helen is donating £2 from every sale of her book to St Nicholas Hospice.  Contact her by email: for further details.
The group also heard about a trip to Risby W.I. a member had undertaken, where she met members of the 60s band, The Batchelors.  The band mingled with the members of the W.I. and sang a medley of their hits.
Lawshall W.I. members had decorated a tree for the village competition and aim to be very involved in village life in 2017.  The group is newly formed and they plan to be active in organising and attending events.  The year ahead looks to be an exciting one for the W.I. Why not come along one month and join in the fun?

November 2016: Christmas Crafts, Jo Cobbett

After the excitement of Halloween and Bonfire night it was heartening to see such a good turnout for our November Meeting.  Members had been on an outing to Bury St Edmunds on 27thOctober to enjoy a guided ghost tour.  I don’t think we’ll ever see Bury in quite the same way again.

The evening’s entertainment consisted of Christmas crafts to make tree decorations for our entry into the Lawshall Christmas Tree Festival.  There were various crafts on offer, including pom-pom making, papercraft and sewing, but the busiest table was the crochet table where members ranging from novice to experienced crocheters were making candy canes, stars and christmas trees.

We also had a Body Shop stall available to members to help us with our Christmas shopping.

October 2016: Corset Consultancy, Rosemarie Jacob

On a somewhat rainy evening, the October meeting of the Lawshall W.I. ensured a warm and friendly welcome to all those who came.
This month’s speaker was Rosemarie Jacob who told us tales of the time she worked as a Corset Consultant for Spirella Corsets.  After visiting a rather formidable corset consultant herself after the birth of her second child, Rosemarie decided that she would actually like to help other ladies feel good about themselves and so undertook training in Norwich and became a qualified Corset Consultant for Spirella.  Rosemarie entertained us with stories of some of her adventures, some funny, some sad, some thought provoking.  Rosemarie certainly had a varied career fitting ladies for made to measure undergarments! She even gave us a demonstration on the correct way to put on our bras!

September 2016: Otago Exercises, Ginny Knox

This month we had another enjoyable meeting. Ginny Knox gave us a demonstration of the Otago exercises that she teaches every Tuesday morning in Lawshall Village Hall.  Otago exercises were developed at Otago University in New Zealand to help with strength and balance, and to reduce accidents and falls in the home.  The exercises are done on or around a chair, and mostly involve small controlled movements.  The meeting ended with the obligatory tea and chat, combined with some delicious home made cake (thank you Diane!).

Congratulations to our treasurer Jo, who brought little Jack (two weeks old) along to help her with taking the minutes of the meeting!

August 2016: Handbags at Dawn, Suzi Murray

We all enjoyed a fun and active talk this month! Suzi Murray gave us a Stage Combat workshop, teaching us the skills she has used in theatre and in film to portray a realistic but safe fight scene.  The key to stage combat is trickery and angles and we learnt the skills needed to slap, punch and strangle, all while maintaining a safe distance and emerging unscathed!  Although anyone peering through the window might have thought that our newly started WI group had already had a serious fall out, I assure you we were all still friends at the end of the evening!

July 2016: Dogs in Detention, Patricia Burton-Hopkins

Wow, what a turnout for July's Lawshall WI meeting!  Our president Patricia Burton-Hopkins gave us a delightful insight into her past, when she worked as a teacher at Culford school alongside her loyal partner....a Scotty dog called Max.  When Patricia's two daughters flew the nest and with her husband working away in the merchant Navy, her daughters persuaded her to buy a dog to keep her company and keep her safe.  But Patricia was a busy lady, working long days she could not leave her gorgeous dog at home, so she brought him with her! The head teacher was very supportive and Max was very excited to meet the children.  Max stayed in a large cage in the classroom, but he was so calm and obedient, he soon creeped out and mingled amount the students. Patricia reflected upon the positive affects the Scotty dog had on the children, especially those who were going through hard times at home. We saw some lovely videos of Max and a scrap book Patricia had lovingly kept.

June 2016: Life on the Ice, Neil Cobbett

We had an excellent turn out for June's Lawshall WI meeting.  Speaking was Neil Cobbett, an Engineer currently developing research instruments that can measure the atmosphere just outside the Earth where you find satellites.  He works with other scientists in the Antarctic (which is a word derived from Greek meaning 'without polar bears') for many months of the year.  A unique part of the world, Neil described what it was like to work in such a beautiful but challenging place.  He showed us what his ration box looked like from when they go out on their research trips, we got dressed up in his polar gear which keeps out the harsh wind and cold of the Antarctic (we were trying on the clothes in one of the hottest evenings of this year, we were sweating!  Sorry Neil).  And Neil gave a very insightful talk all about the amazing movable living and working quarters his colleagues work in.  It was an amazing talk enjoyed by all.

Ruth (our secretary) tried on some Antarctic kit!

May 2016: Tim Freathy, Depden Farm Shop

On Wednesday 11th May the newly established Lawshall WI were pleased to hear from Tim Freathy, co-owner of the brilliant Depden Farm Shop.  An inspirational speaker,  Tim described how his partner Mark and himself plucked up the courage from working in the City to make the move to Depden to start over and live their dream.  They started off by extending their love of gardening by growing fruit and veg in their six acres of land.  This soon extended to keeping animals for food such as turkeys, pigs and sheep.  The project was huge, and the produce they were growing was far more than was necessary to sustain two men, and so, Tim and Mark converted one of their out-buildings into a farm shop, half of which is a gorgeous cafe where Mark makes the cakes dutifully before he goes to work in the morning.  Tim said that he, 'absolutely made the right decision to make the change, the job is hard, long hours and 7 days a week, but it is worth it'. As well as providing the local community with delicious food, Tim and Mark provide education and training to young people with brain injuries and also put on training such as 'Pig Keeping' for everyone.  Tim then shared with us some treats from his shop which included, locally sourced creme fraiche, goats cheese, Binham Blue cheese, smoked salmon and an unusual mango vinegar which got all the WI members talking.