Catford WI Annual Report 2018/19

Well we have had another incredibly full and fun packed year, which has seen us trying many new activities, making new friendships and eating lots of good food! Over the last year our membership has remained full at 70 with a waiting list of up to 44.  We have had a record average attendance at meetings of 57, including guests from the waiting list, and it has been wonderful to welcome so many of you to our group.

Our monthly meetings have included talks, activities, crafts and food.  We have learnt Bollywood dancing and calligraphy, made paper baskets and decorated wooden photograph frames. We have had talks about the history and uses of herbs, the Crossbones pauper’s cemetery near London Bridge and from local resident Freya Rodger about her self-imposed challenge after recovering from cancer to try every sport for women featured at the Rio Olympics. We tasted some delicious West Indian food provided by members and enjoyed a Christmas social. To mark the centenary of some women getting the vote, we had a talk about suffragette Emily Davison and organised Voting is a piece of Cake - a suffragette themed afternoon tea. Many thanks to all those involved in organising these events.

 Just after the last Annual meeting the 2 darts teams both took part in the finals of the Federation tournament, which, much to their delight, was won by Catford B team. Both teams entered again this year with new names. The Thundercats did not progress beyond the initial round robin stage but the Sweetpeas got to the quarterfinals, before losing to Yalding. Apart from the tournament we have had regular practices and have played home and away friendly matches with Woolwich & Plumstead Roses as well as being the guests of Bellingham Bowls club. As always, thanks must go to Kay for all her hard work organising us all.

Members interested in throwing a few darts can always join us at the regular Catford Extra on the third Tuesday of each month. This less formal monthly evening now hosts a regular craft group, where members bring along any individual projects they are working on or can get involved in the planned group project to create a table runner to commemorate  our 10th anniversary next year. Thanks to Clare and Alison S for setting up and organising this group.

The supper club went Nepalese with a visit to Ghurka restaurant in Sydenham, while Alison MacD has joined Katherine and Hazel in running the monthly book club, where they take it in turns to host this informal group.

The theatre group has been a bit quieter this year with just a trip to see Brief Encounter, but a cinema group has been started with a number of outings all arranged informally via WhatsApp. There have been visits to see the restoration of the Painted Ceiling at Greenwich Naval College, a tour of the heritage spitfire hangar at Biggin Hill, a tour of the Natural History Museum and 2 stylish exhibitions at the V&A – on Ocean Liners and Christian Dior. Over the summer, several members enjoyed a mini cruise to Cherbourg and Guernsey and more recently we put our glad rags on for an Abba tribute night (although this didn’t go quite as planned!) Finally, we have been kite flying on Blackheath and a group of members joined the audience for The One Show at broadcasting house.

After axe throwing last year, Kay has upped the ante with more archery, shooting crossbows, plunging down a 225m deathslide(the highest urban zipwire in the world) and most recently, driving tanks across the South Downs!

We have done a lot of walking this year! There have been a wide range of walks and talks with London blue badge guide Kate Boyle who has lead walks round Clerkenwell, The City of London and Guildhall Art Gallery and a Suffragette walk round Westminster ; while  Kay re-ran her popular Slappers of Southwark walk, for both our and other WI’s. We’ve also had photography walks, a lowtide walk in the river at Deptford Creek and Nicole took us on a birdwatching walk at Rainham Marshes. On top of that, there has been a Thames path walk and several members walked parts of the Capital Ring – a 78mile route round London, with Kay, Alison, Ursula, Audrey, Elaine and Cam completing all 15 stages – many congratulations. And finally, the ever popular annual Lullingstone walk and Christmas meal was very well attended by both walkers and non-walkers alike.

While we try to give members as much notice of outings and activities as possible, there are times when things come up at short notice, so we are increasingly using WhatsApp to arrange some of our groups and have an 11th Hour group for members interested in taking  up last minute opportunities.

Members have also joined events organised by the Federation, including playing whist, singing, and attending the Denman weekend, as well as joining other Federation members at the Christmas Carol Service at Maidstone and an ACWW lunch. Kay again acted as steward at this year’s Annual Council Meeting, while Alison attended as our delegate.

It has been gratifying that this year more members have joined in organising some of our activities and our thanks go to all those who have got involved. Don’t forget, this is your WI and the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Going forward, plans are well under way for a number of activities next year to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, with hopefully something to appeal to all of you.

 

Our May Meeting

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It was our annual meeting on 14 May. We began with regular Catford WI business and then moved on to the annual meeting. We debated this year's annual meeting resolutions (Don’t Fear the Smear and A Call Against the Decline in Local Bus Services); voted on several bylaws; confirmed the committee for 2019–20: Alyson McG, Bee, Caroline, Elaine, Fiona J, Kay G, Max, Pauline, Shirley G and Sue H; and elected Max as our new President.

We’re all looking forward to another successful year ahead.

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Tank Driving

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On 11 May, a small group of WI members spent an fun and fantastic afternoon tank driving. Hollywood has the Magnificent Seven, but Catford has the Tanked Ten. We got to drive a Chieftain Main Battle Tank, an Armoured Personnel Carrier, an Abbott Self-propelled Howitzer and a Stormer High Velocity Missile Carrier. What more could a girl ask for?

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Biggin Hill Spitfire Hangar Tour

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On 4 May a group of members, family and friends had a wonderful tour of the Spitfires and other World War II aircraft on the Heritage Hangar Tour at Biggin Hill with our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide, Austin. We got to see spitfires taking off and landing and saw others in the process of renovation.

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Completing the 78-mile Capital Ring Walk

A group of members and friends from Catford WI have completed the Capital Ring walk – a 78-mile circular walk around London. The walk is divided in to 15 sections, with a guide and map for each section available to download on the TFL website.

We started in Woolwich in late November, covering home ground and familiar sites, and made our way through unfamiliar territory, across commons, along canals, through parks and down residential streets to finish back in Woolwich again on 29 March, walking one or two stages each time. We were really lucky with the weather and had lots of blue skies, and only a few (very) muddy paths to manage.  Each stage starts and finishes near a tube or train station, and it's been really interesting to see different areas of London and to take in some amazing views from places like Crystal Palace, Richmond Park and Harrow.  It has been a great chance to get to know each other outside of the monthly meetings and we already have plans to start the London Loop, a 150-mile walk around outer London, this autumn.

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Poppins Afternoon on Blackheath Common

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On 13 April, 6 and a ‘half’ of us turned out for a spot of afternoon kite flying on Blackheath Common. Conditions were less than perfect, but there was just enough wind. Most of us had not flown a kite before, but we managed to get them up and have a great time flying them.

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Our April Meeting

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On 9 April, Lin Saines gave us a talk about herbs.  Lin is the medieval garden advisor and still-room consultant at Ryle Castle Museum. She talked about the use of herbs in the British gardens, particularly those of stately homes, and gave us a seasonal guide to herbs and their uses, including some inspiring recipes.

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The Capital Ring – Stages 14 + 15: Hackney Wick To Woolwich Foot Tunnel

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Well, we’ve done it: we walked the final two stages and completed the Capital Ring Walk – all 78 official miles of it, plus a few extra for distractions such as zip wires!

With blue skies and warm sunshine overhead, we set off from Hackney Wick Station on 29 March and connected with the Greenway Walk, skirting alongside the Olympic Stadium (now the home of West Ham Football Club) and the Orbit. We passed Abbey Mills Pumping Station, a wonderful Victorian building with ornamental gothic architecture, built by Joseph Bazalgette in 1868. Further along the Greenway Walk we passed Victorian school buildings and the East London Cemetery. We left the Greenway Walk and entered Beckton District Park, where at Will Thorne Pavilion Stage 14 finished. We continued our walk in Beckton District Park to start the final stage 15, where we found a nice spot in the warm sunshine for lunch. We continued onto the campus of the University of London, situated alongside the Thames at Royal Albert Dock. Our walk took us along the Thames waterfront, with clear views across to Woolwich. Given the lovely weather, we decided to cross the river to Woolwich by ferry boat. Having made it back to ‘our side of the pond’, we had a well-earned celebratory cuppa in a local Woolwich cafe.


Well done to everyone who has taken part in the Capital Ring Walk. It’s been interesting, educational, athletic and fun!

Clerkenwell Guided Walk

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On 23 March a group of members, family and friends went on a guided walk of Clerkenwell, led by the brilliant guide Kate Boyle. We met Kate at Farringdon Station and for the next couple of hours we went on a journey of discovery, seeing things of interesting around every corner.

The Capital Ring – Stages 12 + 13: Highgate To Hackney Wick

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On 15 March, the ‘Magnificent Seven’ set off from blustery Highgate to Parkland Walk, a 2-mile stretch of reclaimed railway track that is now a wildlife haven. We walked on to Finsbury Park, then along the New River Path, a very muddy, very slippery path (options of brambles on one side and the river the other). A couple of us did take a tumble, but in true WI fashion we stopped and made ourselves feel better with biscuits! We stopped at Clissold Park for a well-earned break and a spot of lunch. Afterwards we walked through Abney Park Cemetery, Stoke Newington, where we saw the grave of William Booth, who founded the Salvation Army. From there we walked on to Springfield Park, an important regional geological site. Leaving the park, we crossed the River Lea, where we saw Springfield Marina, home to a large selection of narrow boats. We then walked along the Lea Valley Walk, which took us past Walthamstow Marsh and onto Hackney Wick, where our 9-mile walk finished.

The Capital Ring – Stage 11: Hendon Park To Highgate

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On 2 March, the ‘Famous Five’ were without their fearless leader for stage 11 of the Capital Ring (Kay was unwell and unable to join us). We had a great 6-mile walk from Hendon Central to Highgate, seeing some beautiful houses in Hampstead Garden Suburb, the very fine Art Deco underground station in East Finchley and the impressive Highgate Wood along the way. We also found two parks with zipwires while on our travels!

Darts Tournament: Catford Sweet Peas Vs Frindsbury Extra

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The Sweet Peas played their second-round darts match against Matfield Arrows on 19 February. Matfield Arrows hosted the match at the King William IV Pub in Pembury. The first game was lengthy; both teams played it close, but Pauline hit the double one to take the game. The second game was fairly close and both teams arrived at double one. Linda did her magic and hit the double one, winning the game and the match 2–0 for the Sweet Peas. Matfield Arrows Captain Kathy and her team were great hosts, creating a friendly atmosphere and providing a very tasty supper after the match.

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The Capital Ring – Stage 10: South Kenton To Hendon Park

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With clear blue skies and bright warm sunshine, six of us set off from South Kenton station on 15 February, heading towards Preston Park. Brent council must like their residents fit, as we come across a well-equipped fitness area. Always willing to have a go, Alison tried the space walker, Elaine went on the skier and Kay had a go at the rowing machine. However, Cam and Ursula took the opportunity for a sit down! It was good to see a small group of local women using the equipment, apparently on a regular basis, go girls! Shortly after, we entered Fryent Country Park and found the going a little boggy and muddy. We walked to the summit of Gotford’s Hill (known locally by the kids as ‘Telly Tubby Hill’) and discovered great views out over London. We walked on to Welsh Harp Reservoir and detoured ever so slightly to the local garden centre, where we took a welcome break and enjoyed a hot drink and a bite to eat. Weary, but refreshed, we continued our walk to West Hendon and onto Hendon Central Station, where the 6-mile route finished.

Our February Meeting

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We had a really interesting talk by Jennifer Cooper from the Crossbones Graveyard at our monthly meeting on 12 February. It was great to hear more about the history of the site and the area and the many people who had been buried there. If you're interested in more information or in attending their monthly vigil, visit crossbones.org.uk.

The Ribboned Gate (photo by Katy Nicholls)

The Ribboned Gate (photo by Katy Nicholls)

The Bronze Plaque (photo by Max Reeves)

The Bronze Plaque (photo by Max Reeves)

Source: http://crossbones.org.uk/

The Capital Ring – Stage 9: Greenford Station To South Kenton

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Waterproofs on and with a hot drink inside them, six set off from Greenford Station for a 5.5 mile walk. We passed by Paradise Fields Wetlands, then joined the Grand Union Canal to Horsenden Hill. There were great views from the top of Horsenden Hill overlooking London. We continued onto Harrow on the Hill and walked past many of the buildings of Harrow School. The last part of the walk was along a very muddy track, where with a few near misses we managed to get through without taking a dive.