The next meeting will be our AGM /  wine and cheese party

Time:  May 14  Venue:  Old Schoolroom

 Don’t forget that all WI meetings are always open to visitors - so do come along – you will find a warm welcome.

The Other Photographs of Wells' was the subject of our April meeting talk by Anne-Marie Wilkinson. Anne-Marie took us through a series of photographs from the archives of Wells Museum.  The photos were taken in the early 1900s by Mr Phillips, a well known photographer of the time who had a studio and shop in Market Place.
It was an amusing and interesting view of life in that period featuring animals, children, weddings and fashions.

Our speaker for March was Tiggie Trethowan whose talk was entitled '40 years at the BBC '
She gave us an amusing account of her time as Events and location manager on The Antiques Road Show, from which she has recently retired after 10 years on the programme.
She then went on to tell us about her time on location with Bear Grylls , which she recounts was a 'challenge' as you can imagine and she had many hair-raising accounts of her time spent with him

Our guest speaker for February was Ian Caskie who gave an illustrated talk on the SS Great Britain from launch to relaunch. Ian is a Visitor Service Volunteer and told the remarkable story of the different phases of her working life.
She was launched in 1843 from Liverpool and her maiden voyage took her to New York taking 15 days, the first transatlantic liner.
She went on to have many different roles including transporting emigrants to Australia and a troop ship.
She was eventually abandoned after being sold to the Falkland Island Company and in 1937 left to rot until 1967 when Jack Hayward recovered her. She was brought back to Avonmouth docks on July 5th 1970 where she has been totally restored and remains today as a popular award winning museum

At our first meeting of 2018 our guest speaker was David Roberts whose talk was entitled 'The Past Around Us'.
He talked about the wealth of history on our own doorstep , from stone , bronze and iron ages through to Roman and Medieval times.
With the aid of slides he was able to show us evidence of settlements , henges and barrows that normally would not be apparent to the uninitiated.
The Mendip Hills has numerous sites as has the neighbouring county of Wiltshire , all within our area , and it was interesting to find out from David how to access these sites and what to look for.
After refreshments the new resolutions were discussed and voted on and the 2018 programme of meetings and outings were also discussed .

Christmas Party at Wedmore golf club.  A good time was had by all!

0ur guest speaker for the November meeting was Ian Williamson from Yeovil .
Ian's talk was entitled 'Trekking in Nepal ' which he undertook in 2015 post earthquake to raise funds for St Margaret's Hospice.
He gave an interesting account of his journey through video and slides of the stunning scenery and extreme temperatures of the country.
He also told of his experiences with the people and of their friendliness and hospitality.  He forged a special bond with the sherpas and porters who guided and accompanied them on the trip.  He then showed some of the sheer devastation in the wake of the earthquake and some the of what the people had endured , with loss of homes and families.  He was so touched by what he saw that he stayed on at the end of the trip to help a family restore their house .

Hand made Christmas Decorations was the subject of our craft evening at our October meeting.
Jeni and Carol demonstrated how, to make among other things your own crackers , table novelties and door decorations using winter foliage that can be found in gardens or hedgerows.  We all eventually managed to make 1 or 2 crackers with pleasing results, and some door decorations.  Jean reported that £131 pounds was raised for ACWW as a result of our sponsored walk at the Nature Reserve Shapwic

 Bett Partidge gave an entertaining talk on using herbs and we all made a rosemary oil infusion

Our summer Garden Party evening took place on Tuesday 8th August and was held at Jackie Klinker's house and garden at Badgworth.]  18 members attended and thankfully it was a warm sunny evening and we had a chance to explore Jackie's lovely garden.
Delicious refreshments were provided by the committee and was followed by a garden quiz courtesy of Jeni.
Jackie was presented with flowers for allowing us to take over her kitchen!!  It was a pleasant way to spend a summer evening.

Our summer outing this year took us first to the Burcott Inn for lunch followed by a guided tour of the house and gardens of the Bishop's Palace and gardens in Wells.
The weather was definitely against us, as it rained all afternoon!
Our intrepid guide after an interesting and informative tour of the palace then took us out into the garden where it was still raining. Undeterred we braved the elements while she told us the gardens history and the different designers who had had an input over hundreds of years.  The present gardener is still planting and designing new areas today and it is well worth a visit. Thanks to Chris for arranging a very pleasant afternoon.

Our June meeting was held at The Strawberry Special pub where 17 members played a game of knockout skittles , followed by natter and refreshments. About 3 or 4 of our number performed very well , but the rest we agreed were quite frankly rubbish. Even so we had a good laugh , and decided definitely not to give up our day jobs !!

Our May meeting was our annual AGM followed by a chat and delicious goodies supplied by members. 
Jeni Skidmore was elected for another year as our President, Kate Durston our Secretary and Linda Elliott our Treasurer. The committee remains the same, but members were asked if they be interested in joining them.
The WI resolutions were discussed and voted on.
We then got down to the serious part of the evening -  the food and drink !!
We also had a stall with a variety of items including plants, books toiletries etc , which surprisingly raised over £100 towards the new table fund for the schoolroom.


At our April meeting we welcomed Lottie Dale.  Lottie is an ex nurse and now has an interest in complimentary remedies.
She talked to us about the properties of Aloe Vera and how in some ways it can alleviate the symptoms of burns, joint pain, skin conditions, digestive disorders and airborne allergies.
Aloe Vera has been recognised as a possible remedy for centuries in many countries , and is reputed to have been a favourite of Cleopatra.
Products come in the form of drinks, creams, lotions and deodorants and are available from the manufacturers ' FOREVER.'

The speaker at the March meeting was Len Sweales 
He arrived in full regalia complete with the obligatory bell and explained the duties of the town crier, of which he has been for 17 years.
There has been a Town Crier in Wells since records began in 1503 and Leonard took us through the variety of official duties that the post requires. His most important function is to accompany the Mayor on official occasions ,to be his 'protector', toastmaster and anything else the job entails. He is also responsible for making proclamations of marriages, births and deaths within the Royal Family.
A more unofficial side to the job involves dealing with the general public and can include city tours, appearances at weddings, funerals and christenings and of course 'selfies'.

At our February meeting our own Angie Horne gave an account of her heroic Wing Walk in to raise money for the Parkinsons Society.
She took us through the procedure to prepare her and tell her what to expect of her 15 minutes in the air .
After an amusing account of considerable difficulties actually getting on to the small aircraft, she was  finally strapped onto the wing and told to keep her arms outstretched at all times and to keep her thumbs up !
After a smooth take-off she reached speeds of 107 mph at a height of 1200 ft above sea level and once airborne she thoroughly enjoyed it.  Members of Angie's family came along to support her, but spent a lot of the time covering their eyes in disbelief , and in sheer admiration.
She managed to raise a fantastic £6,332 in donations and thanked us all for supporting her 

January 2017
For our first meeting of 2017 our guest speaker was Michael Malghan whose subject was 'It shouldn't happen to a writer '
Michael who lives in Panborough , gave us a very humorous account of his journey to become a published author.
His first job as a journalist was with the Skegness Standard writing articles and features which gave him a valuable insight into characters from all walks of life.  He then moved on to writing short stories in a variety of women's magazines , and from there he went on to become a television writer with Granada Studios in Manchester mainly writing for children's programmes.
He then found himself at Elstree Studios writing for The Tweenies and a couple of episodes for The Chucklebrothers. He even managed to get himself a part as an extra in the film' Elizabeth The Golden Years'  as a pikeman!  
It was an amusing and interesting talk and we all thoroughly enjoyed a good laugh. 

December  Christmas Party at the Woodborough Inn - a good time was had by all!

At our November meeting Rachel Pinnock told us about her time in the Maldives with WAGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts )
Rachel was selected with four other girls to go to the Maldives to assist in training Girl Guide leaders.

She started by telling us a little about the culture and history of the islands, then went on to describe their work there.
She had a fantastic time, very busy, but has come away with many happy memories of lovely people beautiful islands.


The subject of our October meeting was the ever popular gardener's question time. Jim and Lucy gave tips and advice on autumnal jobs including bulbs, which Lucy stressed need planting NOW!
Advice was also given on pruning and taking hard wood cuttings.
Moving mature plants at this time  of year was another subject dealt with.

This was then followed by a range of queries and questions from the hall.


Alison Sopp was our speaker at our September meeting . Alison is in charge of fund-raising for Weston Hospice Care.
She spoke about the work of the Hospice in general, not only within the Hospice itself , but outside care in peoples homes. 
The unit in Weston has 10 beds which seems a small number, but most people prefer if possible to stay in their homes with care provided by community nurses specially trained in all aspects of their illnesses.
There are also a large number of dedicated volunteers who man the charity shops and provide transportation.
These people are invaluable and the charity could not function without them.
Only a small percentage of the cost of running the Hospice comes from the government , the rest is by public donation and fund-raising.


Our August meeting was held in the garden of Jeni  and Robin Skidmore at Maytree Farm.
The weather was kind to us and we were joined by eight members from the Cheddar group of WI's.
We enjoyed a stroll around the garden while completing a quiz. This was followed by a delicious selection of food provided by members of 
our own WI .
Everyone left feeling well fed and mellowed with the help of a glass of Pymms and wine, or a glass of orange juice for those driving of 
course !!


Trip to the Willow and Wetland Centre - this was very enjoyable and we ahd an excellent lunch in the cafe there and an excellent tour.  It was very intersting to se the various baskets being made


Dave Mourian took us on his journey through the Americas on his trusty motorbike 
With the aid of slides and a great amount of humour he recounted his many escapades and characters that he met on his way, many of them other motorbike enthusiasts with whom he shared meals and lodgings.
He travelled through the states visiting many famous landmarks and on into Canada where he met up with family members for celebrations.
He then travelled on to Alaska, back through the Yukon and on down to Mexico and South America.

Altogether a memorable trip for Dave and  entertaining evening for us.


Our May WI meeting proved just how enjoyable a WI meeting can be even when it includes the obligatory AGM business session. It began with a cookery demonstration by Liz Duckett who showed us how to make her impressive vegetarian roulade that has become a popular feature of the Harvest Home lunch.

Whilst we waited for the roulade to cook and cool we managed a quick AGM business session. We have had another successful year with our Membership now up to 24 and a good selection of speakers has helped liven up our meetings.

We then moved on to debate and vote on the two Resolutions that will be put forward at the WI’s National AGM in Brighton in June – the first about trying to get supermarkets to do more to limit unnecessary food waste - the second about giving carers a greater role when a dementia  sufferer is in hospital. Although supermarkets are not the largest wasters of food we agreed they could do more to help with the problem.  We were undecided about the second resolution and so will allow Jeni to vote on our behalf once she has heard the debate at the National AGM where she is to be a delegate representing Allerton and 3 other WIs in the Cheddar Valley group.

The highlight of the evening then followed - a tasty  supper which included some of Liz’s roulade, together with salad and a cheesecake dessert provided by Gail & Rachel Pinnock, all washed down with refreshing drinks.  What a lovely sociable evening!

December  Our Christmas Party at the Rodney Stoke Inn - a good time was had by all!

November  Jim Mathers and Lucy Hetherington held a Q and A about gardens and lawns

October meeting
Anne Williams, a lawyer from Weston of the CAB talked about her work and the type of advice that the CAB can offer

September meeting

For our September meeting we were treated to a very entertaining and inspiring Origami Workshop by Sean Clarke from Ilminster. Firstly Sean gave us a potted history of the art of origami which originated in China and not Japan, as many people think. He then showed us some of the impressive examples of his own work in which he uses only squares of paper or card that he folds and scores, not cuts, and then shapes into intricate, imaginative 3D models or other complicated contoured shapes – we all marvelled at the incredible talent he has for his art.

It was then our turn to be guided through some folding, scoring and shaping of our own to make some charming boxes and lids just the right size for small gifts at Christmas. This all required a great deal of concentration and some very accurate folding but everyone felt a great sense of achievement with the results and we all agreed it had been a most enjoyable session.  

Allerton WI has been drawn to play Cheddar Gorgeous WI in the first round of the County Skittles Knock-out Tournament to be played before the end of the month and we hope to get a little further than we did last year when we were knocked out in the first round!

The Centenary of the WI is being celebrated throughout the year in various ways up and down the country. In Somerset an Exhibition of WI memorabilia is being held at Radstock Museum.  Allerton WI has been able to contribute a number of items for display and we look forward to organising a visit to the Exhibition before it closes at the end of November. 

The August meeting began with an interesting account from Helen Stickland on the National Federation of Women’s Institutes Centennial Annual Meeting, which was held at the Royal Albert Hall and which was attended by the Queen, the Princess Royal and Sophie the Countess of Wessex, all of whom are members of the WI.

We were then treated to an excellent talk by Tiggi Trethowan who spoke about her career and her current position behind the scenes at The Antiques Roadshow.  The organization of this and the numbers of people involved is amazing and she gave us an interesting insight into what goes on, both on and off the camera, which was enjoyed by all the members and guests.