We have had a very enjoyable year at the Art Group and there was a big change after the departure of our Chairman, Elaine Grainger, who moved to Wales. Several of the more recently joined members joined the committee and Sue Dixon and Jill Harwood became joint Chairmen, backed up with a very enthusiastic team. We were grateful that the former Chairman, Brian Dowling, volunteered to remain on the Committee, as his years of experience were very valuable.
On the shores of St Helena Bay, on the west coast of South Africa, lie the vas salt pans of Velddrif. Underground there is a layer of water bearing permeable rock called an aquifer and natural sea water is pumped up from this to the surface and through 12 pans. The intense heat of the sun and the warm breeze do the rest and, when the water reaches the final pan, then the salt content is so concentrated that natural crystals form which are then harvested by hand.
The last meeting took place in the Library on Wednesday May 2nd. The President welcomed members and gave out birthday cards to members with a birthday in May.
Arrangements were made for the Commons Edge Group Meeting which we were hosting on May 9th. Correspondence included the Christmas concert in Cheltenham with “Only men aloud”; a walk at Bishops Cleeve; a quilling workshop; archery taster session; indoor bowls taster; a visit to Lacock Abbey and village. Plans were made for scrabble and the luncheon club.
Many readers will have attended the AGM of the Link held on April 13th at the Hub. I hope the evening was informative and has updated you further on the work of the Link. For those readers who did not attend, the following notes will keep you informed of the work of the Link in Nkokoto and Urambo.
The most recent meeting was held on April 4th. We were welcomed by the President and apologies from members unable to attend were read out. Members with an April birthday were given cards.
A report was given on the Annual council Meeting in Cheltenham. Preparations were discussed for hosting the Commons Edge Group Meeting in May.
Minchinhampton W.I. met in the Library on March 7th. The president welcomed members and gave out birthday cards to those celebrating birthdays in March.
W.I. business included: Discount for those visiting Countryside Live at Blenheim House in August; Walks at Mitcheldean and Cleeve Hill; Bowls taster session at Glos Spa Bowling Club; Makume Game workshop; Talk on Paganism. It was decided to donate the W.I. Poppy collection to the town appeal for a display in the Undercroft to celeb
rate the end of WWI. Members were reminded of the Group meeting to be held on May 9th at the Hub.
The Link has been in touch with Stima in Urambo recently and he has kept us up to date on the projects that we are financing. We are pleased that work on the nurse’s house has begun and she will soon be able to move back in. We have had the details of the work to be done on the primary school’s rainwater harvesting tank that the Link built some years ago and we have had the drawings and costings for the new teachers’ house to be built. It will be for two teachers (and possibly their families). Michael, the Headteacher of the school, has sent his greetings and thanks to Minchinhampton for the equipment and furniture purchased for the school.
At our April meeting, Jan Ryder spoke on the work of Longfield, who offer support to those who are facing up to a terminal illness and their families. There is no residential care at Longfield but their specialist nurses go into homes to assist when required. Day courses are available at Longfield which offer a wide variety of activities and they also have beautiful grounds where one can relax in peace and quiet. All these services are free and Longfield exists on donations and charity events that they organise them-selves, such as sponsored walks.
This month I want to tell you about 3 lovely ladies who are part of the Coopain Cabana Cooperative. This is a group of around 500 small holder famers in Peru. They grow quinoa just north of Lake Titicaca.
The cooperative governs itself and is split into 15 local associations headed by presidents and delegates who hold their positions for one year before voting begins again. The three ladies are all members of the Coopain and have lived in Cabana all their lives.
Mercedes is part of the supervisory committee and is very involved in Fairtrade negotiations. As well as working in the fields to produce quinoa she also has a say in its sale and usage.
At our March meeting we had a talk by Di Wall on Stroud in WW2. It was illustrated with lots of wartime photos of people and places in the Stroud area, as well as local ones of Box and Minchinhampton. Di had obviously done a great deal of research for her talk and is still continuing to study new subjects for the future. A well recommended speaker!
In March, 5 of our members went to the GFWI Annual Council Meeting in Cheltenham. The speaker was Adam Henson of Countryfile fame, who was a very entertaining speaker who kept everybody amused.
It was with some trepidation that Jackie Natt and I took over from Clare Cooper at the beginning of 2017. She has always been so enthusiastic and committed to the Traidcraft brand and the whole philosophy of Fair Trade. However, with the support of many members of the congregation, and Clare’s advice and experience, we have managed to have a very successful first year.
At our February meeting we had a fascinating talk by Eileen Hopcraft on Dolls Houses. She brought along a display of dolls houses made by herself aided by her husband, based on various themes. She explained the problem was keeping all the items in the houses in proportion, which in-volved ingenuity and imagination in the construction and lots of patience!