JULY 2018 STRADBROKE W.I. REPORT
We all met on a balmy summer evening ready for another interesting evening with the W.I. As Gill was away Carol our Vice President stood in for the evening and, after the usual offices, we sang Jerusalem and saw the birthday posies safely presented. A slight change from our usual procedures had Carol introducing our speaker at the start of the meeting and so we settled in to listen to Sheila Harrison talk to us on the subject of Village People.
Some of us sat back and waited for the music to start and to see and hear about the Indian chief, the fire fighter, the sailor, and so on who made up the group famous for singing about the Y.M.C.A. but hold hard we enjoyed instead a beautifully told story about the lives, works, and general history of the folks who lived in Weston Longville, a village a few miles outside of Norwich. According to the census of 1801 there were 365 people, 2 pubs, 1 shop and a blacksmith. Her main character was Parson James Woodford who was all things to his congregation, landowner, employer, spiritual guide, and the person most turned to for help and guidance. We learned about the social hierarchy from the Squire down to the farmers, the labourers, and the lowest of all, the skipjack or backhouse boy. The lives of the housemaids and scullery maids, the manservants, all of whom worked very hard and were poorly paid. Disease was rife and tuberculosis along with smallpox were a deadly pair waiting to take off the weak, the young, and the elderly. The crimes of the day sounded familiar, robbery, burglary, smuggling, and even drink driving when in charge of a horse or horsedrawn vehicle. So nothing new there but perhaps we don’t see too many drunk pigs these days !! The entertainment was usually homemade but boosted by visiting fairs and freak shows where deformed people were displayed for the delectation of the villagers, I guess we can’t criticise when you think of the oddball TV programmes we have available today. Sheila held us enthralled through the evening and gave us a very enjoyable insight to the life of our ancestors.
As we moved to the refreshment table for a cheerful chat, we realised how glad we were to have been born in this era, well most of the time anyway.
The full business followed and we were happy to hear that our quiz team had done well and that our next meeting on August 9th will be our summer meeting when the committee will provide a lovely salad buffet for all members to enjoy, so see you all in August ladies.
The next full meeting will be an open meeting on September 13th when Jo Statham will give a talk on Alfred Hitchcock films so see you all then. Prue