Sandra Simmonds – Life after Iran

This evening we were delighted to welcome back Sandra Simmonds who has been telling us all about her life as the wife of an Iranian.

Sandra last visited us in 2014 and so she started by giving us a quick recap of her previous talk, and then went on to tell us about the experiences she has had since then. What a rollercoaster life she has had! Unable to return to Iran as the situation had become too perilous she struggled to make the relationship with her husband work and so she eventually made the hard decision to divorce her first husband and start life again as a ‘normal’ western lady.

Boy has she had to overcome some challenges with relationships, bereavements and other crises but she was an inspiration explaining that sometimes things had pulled her down to rock bottom, but she always managed to get back up again. She explained how her family were vital in her recovery, her father even training her for a marathon! It was fascinating to hear that she more recently has been working with a bereavement charity to help others and will soon be doing her talks on the cruise ships.

What a lovely lady; a real inspiration!

Denise Ryan; Stunt Woman

Tonight we had a fantastic evening listening to Denise Ryan tell us all about her life as a female stunt woman. From a simple beginning as a high board diver and excellent swimmer she has blazed a trail (quite literally at times having been set on fire!) through cinema and TV screens.

Denise has had a very varied career from performing as part of a circus, stunts on huge blockbuster films and doubling for some famous faces on well loved TV shows such as Vera. It was great to hear how the UK was paving the way globally in protecting its stunt artists by using Stunt Co-ordinators on every set to look after its performers; a role that Denise is also now proud to do.

We learnt about how much training stunt artists have to do in the UK before they are allowed onto the British Stunt Register and all about how some of the stunts are done. Having heard about some of her daring stunts we were also treated to her list of injuries and brakes!

Thank you Denise for a thoroughly enjoyable evening!

Women of Winchester Tour – part 2

After the success of our Women in Winchester Tour last year we ventured out of our usual village in to begin where we left off! Tonight we met outside Winchester Cathedral and were treated yet again to over 2000 years of fascinating history on a guided tour from our Winchester tour guide Kate.

We learnt all about the remarkable origins or Alcoholics Anonymous as well as The Square in Winchester and where the Eclipse Inn got it’s name. Just like last year Kate tailored her tour to include a few women from Winchester and so we heard of the demise of Alice de Lisle and how the Manor of God Begot was gifted to Queen Emma.

We finished our tour up at the castle and so of course had to end with a little history of the round table! A huge thank you to Kate for another wonderful tour. Before the curfew clock could chime it was time for us to sally forth and head home; cooled by the warm summer rain.

 

 

Die Cutting

Tonight we had a lovely evening all about Die Cutting courtesy of our very own Bev T. We learnt all about the different craft projects that it can be used for, the different types of machine and the various dies that are available. Bev demonstrated how her three different machines worked and passed round some of the intricate dies that she has including some that emboss as well as cut.

After marvelling at some of her beautiful creations that she’d put out on display we were then all ready to produce our own little treasure to take home. With a choice between a gift box and a tea light holder we were all kept busy folding, pushing out the die cut pieces and gluing our objects together. At the end of it all everybody left with a beautifully made item to take home with them.

Thank you very much Bev for a thoroughly enjoyable, interesting and therapeutic evening!

 

Annual Meeting and Theatre Guide

Thank you very much to all our Disparate Housewives WI members who attended this year’s Annual Meeting. And what a special one it was too as I am delighted to welcome three new members to the committee! As always the Resolutions got us talking and debating. So much so that we nearly ran out of time for our guest speaker…

An extra special thank you goes out to our Disparate Housewives member Holly who enthralled us all with the fascinating world of theatre productions. In her backstage guide we learnt all about the humble beginnings that even the largest of West End shows have in village halls just like ours up and down the country! Our eyes were opened to the huge amount of work that goes into the productions before anyone even sets foot in the theatre including acquiring props, set design, marking out the stage on the floor of the hall and of course rehearsing. Who knew we had such a star in our midst as well as we discovered the big names and productions she had the pleasure of working with and on!

Thank you very much Holly for an incredibly enjoyable talk and a warning to you all; if you ever see Holly marking out coloured tape on the floor, be careful, you might be about to walk through a wall!

Skincare from Dermalogica

Last night we were well and truly pampered by Sylvie Mann, a trained Beauty Therapist from Dermalogica! She took us through a face cleansing and moisturising routine explaining the purpose of each step. Everyone received samples of each product so we cleansed, purified, toned, scrubbed and moisturised our way to healthier, younger looking skin. The delightful headbands were also quite transformational!

Afterwards Sylvie took time to answer our questions which included explaining the importance of sun protection for our skin if we wish to retain our youthful looks, plus the various options available to smooth out blemishes and provide foundation for our make-up.

Thank you Sylvie for an interesting, practical and informative as well as thoroughly enjoyable evening!

 

Basket Weaving

Tonight we cosied up in our new temporary lodgings in the Gilbert Room whilst the main hall floor is being replaced. This certainly did not put a dampener on things as everyone rallied round bringing their own coffee cups and reorganising the tables and chairs.

Louise Brown, a local basket maker, treated us to a interesting talk on the history of not only basket making but the growing of the raw materials for the craft as well. It was fascinating to hear how large the willow growing regions in the UK had been in the past compared to today and all the interesting things that have been woven throughout history. I was certainly surprised to hear that evidence of weaving has been found as far back as 3000 years ago! It was nice to hear that basket weaving was seeing a resurgence with objects being woven for their aesthetics rather than necessity and a booming trade in woven coffins!

After an impressive demonstration from Louise on how to weave a basket we were then let loose on some willow to sculpt our own woven star… with varying degrees of success but enjoyment all round!

Thank you Louise for a fun filled informative evening with laughter a plenty. It is obviously very a skilled craft!