Chester Conference 2018 - Planning well under way

Planning is well under way for the 2018 NWR conference in Chester and those who have organised past conferences know just how much hard works goes into making sure these events are a success. The the details for 2018 will be up on the website soon, including details of how to book your place at the conference online. In the meantime, here's a look back to the Lincoln conference as seen through the eyes of NWR member Faith Oxford...

 
Lincoln conference 2017 through my eyes - as a committee member and chair on the day

Sandra's excellent report on the conference was a full and comprehensive account of a day that, we as a committee, were pleased to be able to say most delegates enjoyed. But how did we get to that day? What trials and tribulations did we go through? What emotions did we experience...... and how many emails passed between us?!

From my point of view, volunteering to be on the committee was not a hard decision. I had been part of the 2001 Nottingham conference committee so knew how much hard work was involved but also remembered what a fantastic buzz it gave me when it was all over.

Back then, planning began 18 months ahead of conference, which was a full weekend with the committee organising everything - accommodation, food, workshops, speakers, etc. etc. We also had to decide on a theme for the conference so when ten willing volunteers met up for the first time with Natalie on 3rd August last year and were told the theme for this year's conference was to be 'Wonder Women', we thought; at least that's one less thing to worry about. But was it? In the past conference titles have included 'Power' (Leicester 1995),'Fast Forward' (Nottingham 2001), 'Exploring Diversity' (York 2003) and 'Inspired' (Birmingham 2012). All stirring and inspirational themes but with the added bonus that you could make almost any speaker fit the brief. 'Wonder Women' on the other hand... That was pretty specific!

The original ten members dwindled to seven plus Natalie and our first couple of meetings were brain storming sessions to suggest speakers who would be interesting (ideally, having been heard by one of us previously) available (even more important), fulfilled the brief... and affordable! Helen Sharman, first British woman in space was certainly a Wonder Woman but way out of our budget.

We went away from our brainstorming sessions with our brains hurting! But over the next couple of meetings, we agreed on our speakers and booked them; feeling reasonably satisfied that they would be good. Workshops and retail stalls were also agreed upon and booked.

Does that sound as though it was all going too smoothly? That may be because I forgot to mention the frustration when we were trying to get information and people could not be contacted, when emails we thought we'd sent were not sent - or at least did not arrive or were not answered! Then there was the 'biggie' when one of our workshop leaders had to withdraw. Panic set in... Slightly! After all, we are capable, resourceful and determined 'Wonder Women'! Yet another brainstorming session ensued (by email) and we secured the services of the ‘Drumming Man’ - much to the delight I'm sure, of those delegates who attended the session.

The weekend arrived and the first 'disaster'! I do not intend to dwell on the Friday evening chicken - so much has already been said! With many thanks to Natalie, a refund has been arranged and, hopefully, everyone who went will have realised that we were equally disappointed. 

Waking on Saturday morning with the evening before very much on my mind - plus the fact that I (as the compiler of the picture quiz) had mistakenly thought Cate Blanchett was Keira Knightley and was loudly shouted down! - I was nervous about the day ahead. As volunteer committees, we take on these tasks willingly and with a great sense of responsibility, knowing that the enjoyment of up to 300 women, at no little expense- is in our hands. It was daunting!

But..... from the moment the Town Crier rang her bell and her stirring voice rang out, I dared to hope that it was all going to be okay! There were moments - the AGM being one of them (almost a tradition since it moved from the end of the day to the middle) - that were tricky but we got through it.

Emotional - yes, of course it was. The whole process was emotional - frustrating at times and annoying at times but also immensely rewarding and, overall, it was fun. Working with and getting to know my fellow committee members was great. The lovely, heart-warming and kind comments from delegates during the day and as they went home made it all worthwhile and I went home on a high. However, unlike in 2001 when that buzz kept me awake and buzzing half the night, 2017 saw me having a glass of wine and falling into a long and deep sleep!

And those dozens (if not hundreds) of emails? I can't quite bring myself to delete the folder just yet - in case I should need to refer to them.

Good luck to Chester committee and I'm really looking forward to enjoying the product of other people's hard work.

 

Faith Oxford

1
  1855 Hits
  2 Comments
Recent Comments
Liz Valette
A lot of hard work really does go into organising conferences. Volunteer committees, with a great sense of responsibility, willing... Read More
Friday, 17 November 2017 09:16
Faith Oxford
Thank you, Liz. Several of us on the committee met up for lunch a few weeks after the conference and did a little 'back-patting'!... Read More
Sunday, 19 November 2017 18:50
1855 Hits
2 Comments

Whatever happened to summer?

What happened to our summer break?

Staff and the volunteers who run NWR can usually rely on a quiet period between late July and September to catch up on annual tasks and outstanding issues.  After all the hard work of the national conference is over, the pace changes and we can relax a bit to take holidays, spend time with our families or just enjoy the summer. 

Early work on the Telephone Treasure Trail then starts in August and preparations for the next trustee meeting get underway in September as everyone focuses on the year ahead.

Not this year however! 

Staff and trustee resignations have made this a busy summer and early Autumn as replacements have to be found to keep our organisation going.  New job roles and descriptions for staff had to be agreed and advertised. Then came the shortlisting and interviews and, for the lucky applicants, an induction schedule and settling in period to be organised. 

To keep the organisation going we need a whole range of volunteers from Regional/Area Organisers, to special group leaders, to trustees.   We encourage any interest and aim to find ways to use members' experiences and skills.

So we look forward to working with our new members of staff, our new trustees and volunteers as they bring new ideas and fresh energy. 

I can now return to my garden and reading and relaxing - for a few weeks at least... although the TTT is coming up quickly... and then there is Christmas...

Best wishes

Josephine

 

 

0
  1181 Hits
  0 Comments
1181 Hits
0 Comments

The Angela Walker Quiz

The Angela Walker Quiz

Thank you to everyone who attended the recent Angela Walker Quiz. The winners were Rugby. Leicester came in second and Coventry in third - so very well done to all your teams!

Continue reading
2
  1763 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
1763 Hits
0 Comments

Up Hill and Down Dale - Women Rambling On Again

Up Hill and Down Dale - Women Rambling On Again

Four members of Arnold NWR joined with around 50 other NWR members recently for a very enjoyable day event organised by members of Trentham NWR, Staffordshire Moorlands NWR and Marilyn Vigurs, Area Organiser.

The venue was The Tea Junction at Hulme End (http://www.teajunctionhulmeend.co.uk/). In the morning we enjoyed an illustrated talk by eminent local photographer Simon Watkinson (www.world-infocus.co.uk). Simon entertained us with wonderful photographs from around the world and closer to home, showing how you can achieve great results by getting up early, going out in all weathers, and always having your camera to hand for any unexpected opportunity! Also how to improvise and make use of what equipment is to hand.


After a lovely lunch provided by the team at The Tea Junction (including feta cheesecake...yummy!!), we split into groups for an afternoon of activities. The more active amongst us set off for a 5-mile ramble; another group embarked on a treasure hunt in nearby Hartington. The largest group went with Simon a short distance to Beresford Dale, for an afternoon workshop on how to improve our photography using our various types of camera, tablets, phones etc. We learned how to use a variety of settings that some of us didn’t realise our cameras had! Simon patiently showed us how to access the menu options on our cameras and choose appropriate settings for the conditions. We were then set loose for a couple of hours, to wander along the dale and experiment taking different pictures and changing the camera/phone settings to compensate for bright sunlight and strong shadows and reflections.
We all reconvened for tea and cake and closing remarks having had a most enjoyable day in glorious sunshine!


Thanks to all the organisers and to the wonderful catering team at The Tea Junction!


Arnold NWR

1
  1401 Hits
  0 Comments
1401 Hits
0 Comments

Fear & Loathing via Abergavenny

Fear & Loathing via Abergavenny

Author, Carol Lovekin recently spoke at the Newport Regional Conference. It's not often we get to hear what the experience was like from the other side of the table but Carol agreed to share her experience with us...

Continue reading
2
  1763 Hits
  0 Comments
1763 Hits
0 Comments

Listen to the NWR Magazine online

Listen to the NWR Magazine online

Did you know you can listen to the NWR Magazine? Trustee, Jo Thomson, tells us about getting into the recording studio.

Continue reading
2
  1759 Hits
  5 Comments
Recent Comments
Liz Valette
I couldn't find an audio file, the link took me to the digital version of the Autumn 2016 magazine.
Thursday, 20 April 2017 16:37
Lynn Welsher
You have to scroll right down to the bottom of the list Liz then click on Autumn 2016 underneath where it says ' Listen to an audi... Read More
Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:18
Lynn Welsher
Well done ladies - very clearly read!
Thursday, 20 April 2017 17:19
1759 Hits
5 Comments

10,000 meetings a year

10,000 meetings a year

Group meetings are the heart of NWR and an amazing 10,000 are held each year - at least! That is an incredible amount of discussion, chat, research, learning, fun and laughter. 

Continue reading
0
  1853 Hits
  0 Comments
1853 Hits
0 Comments

We Got Rhythm

We Got Rhythm

Two NWR groups in the Midlands got together recently for a fun-filled evening of Brazilian drumming.

Continue reading
1
  1274 Hits
  1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Lynn Welsher
That looks like an excellent day Jenny!
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 20:05
1274 Hits
1 Comment

On the trail of Capability

On the trail of Capability

Inspired by accounts in the NWR magazine of other groups’ travels, eight members of Woolton Hill Group organised an away break to Gloucestershire.

Continue reading
0
  1185 Hits
  1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Lynn Welsher
That looks like a wonderful trip Nicole - lots of places I know well living in The Midlands but makes me want to revisit them now!... Read More
Tuesday, 04 April 2017 20:31
1185 Hits
1 Comment

What is special about NWR?

What is special about NWR?

Defining what is special about NWR is something we have tried to describe since we started in 1960. What is the difference between NWR and the WI or U3A, or any of the online groups such as Meetup groups or Together Friends? Sometimes it is easier to say what we don't do - get involved with fundraising or engaged in campaigning - than be concise about what we are. However let's try!

Continue reading
3
  1937 Hits
  2 Comments
Recent Comments
Ginnie Rhodes
Great blog Josephine , summarises us very nicely .. thank you
Friday, 03 February 2017 10:11
Sarah Akhtar
Great article. What I think makes us different (and better) is the informality of NWR. No minutes or agenda, plenty of member part... Read More
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 12:11
1937 Hits
2 Comments

New Year’s resolutions: What to do and how to stick to it

New Year’s resolutions: What to do and how to stick to it

Have you joined a gym? Are you cutting down on alcohol? Have you decided to be kinder to yourself or others? What is your New Year’s resolution?

Continue reading
2
  1459 Hits
  0 Comments
1459 Hits
0 Comments

Who was the REAL Saint Nic?

Who was the REAL Saint Nic?

What do pickled children, whipping and kidnapping have to do with Christmas? We all recognise the jolly old white man with red cheeks and a red fur suit - but who was this man and where did our beloved Santa come from?

Continue reading
2
  1467 Hits
  0 Comments
1467 Hits
0 Comments

A different kind of Christmas: Salisbury NWR remind us not to forget the fairies!

A different kind of Christmas: Salisbury NWR remind us not to forget the fairies!

Every year, St Thomas's Church in Salisbury holds a tree festival. This year, there were around 108 entries and Salisbury NWR entered this magical fairy tree! The design is based on a traditional story from Australia about the origin of the fairy on the Christmas tree.

Continue reading
2
  1469 Hits
  0 Comments
1469 Hits
0 Comments

Spider infested shower blocks? No thanks, we'd rather go glamping!

Spider infested shower blocks? No thanks, we'd rather go glamping!

Matlock NWR Visit to Hoe Grange

Following Brexit, British and overseas tourists alike have been making the most of the weak pound and choosing to spend their holidays in the UK. And they are not the grimy backpacker type or the sort that enjoys cheesy arcade game caravan sites. These are sophisticated travellers who want to holiday in style.

Continue reading
0
  1318 Hits
  0 Comments
1318 Hits
0 Comments

A week in the life of a trustee

A week in the life of a trustee

Last week was Trustee Week. If you wonder what we get up to, here is one week in the life of a trustee (me!).

Continue reading
2
  1789 Hits
  2 Comments
Recent Comments
Marilyn Vigurs
Thank you Josephine for an interesting insight into your work as Chair of the NWR Trustees. It is obviously demanding on time and... Read More
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 11:28
Jenny Lee
I'd just like to echo all that Marilyn has said and say a big 'thank you' to Josephine and her hardworking colleagues. A lot of wo... Read More
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 15:19
1789 Hits
2 Comments

Adventure by bus

Adventure by bus

Trentham NWR spent a day on the buses, exploring life as viewed from the top deck. Member, Sarah Akhtar, tells us about their adventure...

Continue reading
2
  1470 Hits
  0 Comments
1470 Hits
0 Comments

Stories galore at Biddulph

Stories galore at Biddulph

A presentation by Nigel Daley at the Staffs Moorlands Restoration conference in September 2015 about the renovation of Biddulph Old Hall from a rundown ruin to a “des res”, proved so popular that it prompted the organisation of an NWR visit.

Continue reading
3
  1656 Hits
  1 Comment
Recent comment in this post
Jenny Lee
The restoration of Biddulph Old Hall is a labour of love. Its walls could tell so many stories spanning many centuries, so how won... Read More
Thursday, 25 August 2016 21:06
1656 Hits
1 Comment

Alright darling?

Alright darling?

A whistle and a honk of the horn. “Phoooar I’d like a piece of that!” shouted one man out of the window. “Smile love!” called the other as I did my best to ignore them...

Continue reading
3
  1523 Hits
  0 Comments
1523 Hits
0 Comments

Brighton's Sewer Tour: Into the depths...

Brighton's Sewer Tour: Into the depths...

On the Sunday morning of the NWR Conference weekend a large group of us were taken on an underground tour of the Victorian sewers of Brighton. There are 48km of sewers - but we only walked along 366 metres! 

Continue reading
4
  2306 Hits
  2 Comments
Recent Comments
Liz Valette
I lived in Hove for many years but left for S E Hampshire in the early sixties. Back in those days I never gave the sewers a thoug... Read More
Friday, 01 July 2016 14:20
Barbara Richardson
Only just noticed your comments Liz. Yes, the sewer tours have been going for years. I moved to the south coast in 1963 and had ... Read More
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 09:42
2306 Hits
2 Comments

The referendum, rock & roll and relativity – NWR Conference 2016

The referendum, rock & roll and relativity – NWR Conference 2016

The conference this year was full of interest, lively conversation and fun! Fortunately, my journey to Brighton was considerably less traumatic than some, due to ongoing industrial action and flash flooding in London.

Continue reading
3
  1414 Hits
  0 Comments
1414 Hits
0 Comments