May 17, 2019

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.

W...

May 14, 2019

"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...

May 10, 2019

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...

May 9, 2019

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...

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