August and the show season has been in full swing, and what an impressive one it has been so far. The Surrey County Show, masterminded by Barbara Cavalier, set the season off to a very good start with some wonderful crafts, cookery and preserves on display, the launch of our new Federation logo, demonstrations and campaign displays. Their reward: winning 1st prize for the WI marquee. Congratulations to all who made it such a successful day.

The WI also had an impressive presence at the Cranleigh Show and if you haven’t visited a show yet this summer why not head for the Edenbridge and Oxted Show over the August Bank Holiday — and visit our marquee there if you can.

If you have you been to a show, were you impressed by the WI presence and all there was on display? Maybe you entered a competition or ran a stall, or simply searched the WI out to purchase a cake or preserves. One is never disappointed by either. The WI is not just Jam and Jerusalem, although we shouldn’t be ashamed of this moniker. Campaigning has also been at the forefront of our show presence. Our participation at these events is crucial in order to promote and sustain our membership.

I was lucky enough to be invited to judge the WI crafts at the South of England Show this year. What an impressive display of skills. I judged patchwork, embroidery and an amazing posse of scarecrows (what is the collective noun for a group of scarecrows? Your suggestions please). The winner was the mermaid, pictured next to a Donald Trump.

Have you ever thought about competing? Perhaps you take part in WI and group competitions, but not in the bigger events. Even I have done it. If you fancy competing next year, the Federation’s competition season starts with the Eileen Bowler with entries displayed at the Annual Council Meeting in March. This year the brief is a photographic one — more details in next month’s magazine.

Why not learn a new skill or craft over the winter so that you can compete next year? We have a variety of craft and cookery workshops coming up at which you can develop your skills, or maybe you could visit Denman, either on a specialist course or one of our residential visits.

Last year I acquired and planted a fruit cage and made some strawberry beds. My freezer has since been filling up. This Autumn I plan to improve my jam making skills. I recently learnt that jam makes a different sound when it has reached the setting point, so as a musician, this should make it easier, we shall see. This is my challenge. What is yours?

— Dr Carol A. Gartrell, Federation Chairman


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