Our July meeting was our last at Chetham's School of Music so was the end of an era! We've been busy sorting out plans for our move to The Federation in September so keep your eyes on our social media to find out all the details.
The theme for the July meeting was Body Kindness: we had a talk from Exactly Ourselves, a multimedia project by Elsie Swannick and Abigail Evans from Manchester that describes itself as an 'ode to bodies' and focuses on love and insecurities we have about our own bodies. They explained the background to the project, which involved a photography exhibition outside Manchester Art School, and we heard from two of their models about why they wanted to be part of it.
We also watched a video specially made for us by PERKY, an organisation from London who discuss womanhood, the body & sexuality amongst learning-disabled women. This was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the experiences of those who we often ignore or marginalise, and they shared their...
Every May we hold an AGM, which is an important process in the WI calendar. Every WI is overseen by the National Federation of WI (NFWI) and regional federation (Manchester WI is overseen by Lancashire), and we have to adhere to a few processes to remain affiliated. The AGM is also a chance for members to vote on national WI resolutions, which are campaigns that the WI as a whole takes on, and as well as on our president and which charity we will support for the year. There was plenty of cake, tea and prosecco at the meeting as well to help keep everyone occupied!
Current President Shelley gave an update on our finances. We keep a proportion of the membership fees, with the rest going to NFWI and Lancashire Federation. She explained how most of our income is spent on room hire, and how membership fees are vital in order to keep Manchester WI running.
Sushi School is a sushi making class for adults - it’s interactive, fun and you don’t need to know anything about sushi to join in! We arranged a workshop especially for the Manchester WI so we could learn to roll our own sushi.
Teej, our Sushi master, started off by explaining the history behind Yo! and that on the average morning before they open at 11am the chefs have rolled approx.150 rolls (that's about 1080 individual pieces of sushi!!!) We learnt to make a few different types of roll depending on your food preferences as they do cater to vegans: Cucumber Maki, Spicy Chicken ISO or a Yasai roll, and a Mini Crispy Prawn ISO or an Avocado Maki. We also had a Salmon cutting demonstration.
We got our lovely handmade sushi cut up to take home with us (admittedly some of it just got eaten straight away!!) We also got to take home our sushi rolling mat and a sushi making "how to" booklet with a 25% off voucher for the next time we dine in with Yo! I really enjoyed it and came home with lo...
I’ve always preferred writing things by hand, which doesn’t quite marry up with my job as a digital copywriter, but I love whenever anyone tells me my handwriting is neat.
I’d never tried calligraphy before, but I’ve always thought it’d be a lovely skill to learn, taking my love of neat handwriting to the next level.
I applied for the Manchester WI bursary when I heard it could be used to learn new creative skills, as I’d been interested in attending an Introduction to Modern Calligraphy course.
I signed up for a course run by Moon & Tide, and my excitement levels increased when I received my ticket through the post with my name written in beautiful ink script.
The course was held at Ziferblat in the Northern Quarter (unlimited tea and cake is the perfect accompaniment to any activity). At the start of the course, everyone was handed a potato (I wasn’t expecting this, but apparently it’s just the ticket for making sure a nib is ready to be used on paper), a nib, ink and lots of templates.
"I really fancy keeping chickens" is not something you hear very often but its a statement which my boyfriend came out with last year. I was surprised. A chicken is not your average pet and we had just got two kittens. But the seed was planted. I really like the idea of being more self-sustaining and grow fruit and herbs in the garden, but chickens would be taking it to another level. As a plus my eggs would come from happy healthy hens, they would be organic, and would not be 4 weeks old like most "fresh" supermarket eggs. But I needed to know the downside and get some practical knowledge.
A few weeks later on our monthly Costco shop we discovered a chicken hut on sale....looks like it was meant to be. Obviously we bought the hut and set it up in the garden (because who can resist a bargain that was hundreds of pounds cheaper than the same on the internet!!) A chicken run and lack of knowledge was the only thing holding us back from going hen shopping so I found a course in Manchester...
Learning vocabulary and rhyming off declensions are linguistic gymnastics which many would perhaps gladly leave in secondary school. After all, weekly pop quizzes and writing to European penpals is all very teenage, and once we’re able to drive, go to clubs and, yes, join the WI, what else does learning languages really hold for us?
Well, for those of us who love languages, the urge to conjugate never really goes away.
I studied German at school – as well as French, Spanish, Latin, and a brief flirtation with Italian, although the less said about the sultry Romantic languages the better. And German always held my heart. So the chance to go back to it a massive two decades after I left a full-time classroom is something I can only thank the WI for.
The Aquinas College adult learning course is once a week. There is homework, and extra worksheets are often floating around. But thanks to a small class of around 14 and a really friendly, approachable teacher, it’s been like I never left my ‘de...
I’ve long since marvelled at the dizzy heights scaled by my fellow WI members in life and work, but it wasn’t until a special bouldering session that I realised it’s a literal skill as well as figurative. Rock Over Climbing was the venue where a group of Manchester WI members took to the walls and left the ground behind - well, some of us did. Led by member Charlotte Stoneley, a boulderer of 18 months, and our Rock Over Climbing guide Mel, we gathered at the venue in Manchester’s Julia Street - near Strangeways Prison - on a dark, damp October night.
For the uninitiated, bouldering is rock climbing - but at Rock Over Climbing, instead of dangling off ragged precipices a la Touching The Void, it’s performed on small rock formations or artificial rock walls.
Donning leggings or trackie bottoms, we were kitted out with neat-fitting - and let’s face it, pretty uncomfortable - rock climbing shoes which are neat around the toes to offer greater stability on the wall. And that was all the equip...
Our March meeting was all about low waste living and how to reduce our use of plastic. We had an inspiring talk by Shelley Brown, who owns The Good Life Heatons, an independent waste-free mini market. She explained her personal story of why she decided to open her store, and about why she stocks particular items. I had no idea of the range of refillable products available these days, including refillable wine!! I'm certainly going to give that one a go.
Our baking theme was low waste, so we filled up on cakes made by members using their store cupboard ingredients during the break.
Charlotte Heyhoe, one of our committee members and Craft Club/Lady Skillers sub-group leaders, posed some questions about how we can all be more conscious consumers. She was inspired to reduce her waste by our meeting last year from the Real Junk Food Project, a catering company using food that would otherwise go to waste. We shared ideas as a group, and she gave us information about shops and charities in Man...
For our February meeting we celebrated International Women’s Day by inviting a panel of women currently working the NHS to share their experiences and thoughts with us. 77% of NHS staff are women, yet only 41% of NHS board members are women. With the NHS recently turning 70 years old and an ambition for gender balanced boards by 2020, this was a good chance to learn more about the opportunities and challenges associated with being a woman in the NHS.
We were lucky enough to welcome three accomplished women from a range of backgrounds and roles which fuelled a very diverse and lively discussion and Q&A session with our members.
Dr Kirsten Walpole is a Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Medical Simulation at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals and is the first person in the country to undertake this role, treating patients in Emergency Medicine alongside teaching medical students and other medical professionals. Kirsten shared with us her career progression to date, including taking a break f...
We kicked off the new year in style with masses of food at our first meeting of 2019 and a splendid quiz! Our January meetings are chance to catch up with old friends and for new members to sign up and find out what Manchester WI is all about. Everyone was encouraged to bring some food to share and we were inundated with tasty treats to feed our brains for a quiz about women in 2018. Congratulations to the team who got the fiendishly difficult picture round connection (& hopefully no one else was put off from coming back!). We were able to share all our exciting upcoming events for 2019, including talks on Women in the NHS, Forensic Science, and a sushi making workshop as well our regular sub-groups. Check out all our future events here!
Our meetings take place on the 4th Tuesday of each month at Chetham's School of Music, 7pm for a 7.15pm start. Sign up for membership here or on the night!