This is my annual email to let people know how much money has been raised from hiring out my Murder Mystery plays during the year and to thank them for hiring them.
I would like to thank the NWR office for kindly forwarding emails from NWR groups to enable them to book plays.
This year I sent £725 to the Disasters Emergency Committee who are helping “people around the world who are struggling to cope with the effects of this pandemic, alongside their daily struggles with conflict, hunger and natural disaster.” https://www.dec.org.uk/
I have obtained matched funding so the total received by the charity is £1,450. Sadly, due to the pandemic this total is lower than usual. However, it brings the total raised for third world charities (from all the plays, including matched funding) to £17,109.
Thank you so much for helping to make this total possible.
We have given up giving guidance as it is changing so rapidly and different rules apply for different areas of the UK.
Please check www.gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest up to date information and details of local restrictions.
We advise against sharing lifts if possible.
Please maintain a distance of 2 metres between members.
Please ensure that you wash your hands often and use hand sanitiser as necessary, maintaining good hygiene practices.
Please ensure that you do not attend any NWR gathering if you have any symptoms related to Covid19.
For members in the shielding group we ask that you take the advice of your relevant medical professionals before joining any NWR gathering.
One of our members, Carrie de Silva from the Nantwich and Audlem group in Cheshire, launched a project at The Women's Library to highlight streets named after women (and how few there are), and to produce short biographies of some of the women named.
If you would be interested in getting involved then please contact Carrie for more details. She'd love to collate local knowledge from across the UK. For more information please click on this link
The Chandler's Ford Group, like all of us, are having to find different ways of communicating, and they decided at a recent meeting to discuss their favouite walk, because at least it is something we can all do in this time of Lockdown. they have 20 members in their group out of which 12 participated in an online ZOOM meeting. Three others sent their contributions before the meeting. the list of walks was compiled and then emailed to all members... which is something that other groups might like to try!
TO READ ABOUT THEIR WALKS CLICK HERE
We know that it's difficult for members to find their way around the website and to find the information they need, so we have added a couple of tabs on the Information for Members menu which we hope might help clarify things a bit. We have added "Quizzes and Talks" which is where you will find all the online events we have offered, and where you will be able to find links to the replays. We've also added a 'Newsletters' tab so that you can easily find these in one place. This means that 'Programme Planning' now does exactly what it says on the tin - all the resources to help you plan your programme of activities for your group, whether that's for face-to-face meetings or Zoom meetings.
We have also added an "Online Events" tab to the Events menu, so that you can see both upcoming events and past events offered. However, to listen to the talks you will have to log in as a member and go to 'Quizzes and Talks'.
and 'Magazines' has now been moved to the Members Only area of the website and is also under 'Information for Members'.
Let us know how you are finding it!
.. and we have a few more changes on the way soon.
The Durham Group have already started having all their meetings online, starting with a Planning Meeting and then their first Discussion Group on the subject of "What is Nuclear Medicine?".
Enid Hoseason the Local Organiser writes "It worked quite well and instead of going around the room and asking members to contribute, we just went around the screen, and like a normal meeting, those members who did not want to contribute, just listened.
Members are using different devices, from iphones to iPads and lap tops so those using phones have to swipe the screen to see everyone in the group as they only see four at a time. it is also useful to use the CHAT button on the bottom of the screen if someone cannot hear very well.
Each week we have had emails from each other, from members who have walked around their gardens and taken photos of their lovely flowers and shared them online - just little things to keep us in touch with each other. I know that tonight, some members have watched the live theatre on the television and others are taking part in the events NWR Head Office are organising.
This is a photo of us enjoying a VE Celebration tea and cake together."
Adelia is now working from the office on MON & TUES 9 - 4pm, WEDS & FRI 9 - 1pm and Sam is continuing to work from home.
Adelia will be there to answer your calls when she is in the office but alternatively you can leave a message on the office answerphone 01603 406767 and we can check it and pick up messages remotely.
We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Sam & Adelia
So after many years of being a "Best Kept Secret" with recommendations passed around by word of mouth, we've been given nationwide publicity.
It was a wonderful and inspiring interview capturing the ethos of NWR.
Listen to the interview by clicking on the link http://tiny.cc/n3kpk
Jo Thomson Reports on Her Experience
"On Thursday, 27th February, Natalie and I discovered that we were to be on Woman's Hour on the following day. This invitation had been sparked, I think, by the extensive interview in the Guardian on Thursday with Maureen Nicol. We were contacted on Thursday afternoon by a BBC producer who gave us some idea of what we might be asked, and we duly presented ourselves at Broadcasting House on Friday morning.
We thought we might be nervous, or perhaps find that we had nothing to say, but we were shepherded up to the Green Room and had our photographs taken, as well as chatting to others who would also be included in the programme, so that there wasn't really time to think about how we were feeling.
One of those we chatted to was Helen Lewis, author of "Difficult Women", on the subject of feminism, who was most interesting, and she in turn was intrigued by NWR. In due course we were taken up to the recording area where we waited for the previous item to finish, and then it was our turn to be ushered into the studio in front of Jenni Murray. She very kindly put us at our ease immediately with that lovely warm tone of voice, and we found that we had plenty to say, managing to cover all the topics we had meant to mention. It was all over in no time, and almost as soon as we left we started receiving congratulatory messages from all and sundry, which was very gratifying. We certainly very much enjoyed it, and hope it benefits NWR too."
In the morning we heard about the history of diamonds and were able to see some beautiful examples.
At lunchtime a lovely meal was provided by the venue. After that, via the live link, it was good to actually see and hear from our founder Maureen Nicol.
In the afternoon we had a fabulous talk about Rebel Women, we heard about some specific women from the 19th century to the current day who were pioneers in their different ways. The talk was illustrated by some wonderful clothes from the time.
During the event members participated in quizzes and the day ended with tea and cake!
For the last 7 years Judy Challinor and I, along with other local members, have represented NWR at Nantwich’s Societies spectacular – an annual showcase for local groups, societies and charities. Each year a local radio broadcaster CAT Radio have been there providing background music. Last July I took the plunge and spoke to their presenter about appearing on the station to publicise NWR. The result can be heard by pressing on the link below. A recording from 6th December.
I confess to being somewhat nervous but Kate Blakemore put me at my ease and away we went. I was expecting to just chat for 10 minutes or so but I was there for the whole hour show! I urge people to give it a go and become a radio presenter – even if it is for just an hour!
Here is the link :
Joint Area Organiser for the Midlands 01 Region
NWR 2020 Scrapbook Project
**Notice*** WE ARE PAUSING THE SCRAPBOOKS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. THE CO-ORDINATORS HAVE BEEN INFORMED AND WILL BE IN TOUCH WITH GROUPS TO ADVISE WHEN WE CAN CONTINUE.
pause the scrapbooks until further notice and that co-ordinators have been informed and will be in touch when we can continue.
pause the scrapbooks until further notice and that co-ordinators have been informed and will be in touch when we can continue.
The Scrapbook project is part of the Diamond Anniversary celebrations. Please find some information which may answer any questions you may have.
NWR groups have been divided into 8 regions; Central, Eastern, Midlands, North East, North West, Scotland, South East and South West plus the independent members. Each Region has a Regional Co-ordinator who will be responsible for all the groups in their area.
They have all been issued with A3 paper and an art carrier for safekeeping the pages in. Each co-ordinator will be responsible for planning a 'route' for the scrapbooks between the groups in their area. The plan is that your group will have two weeks in which to complete your entry. Ideally, the scrapbooks will be handed over in person from group to group, where possible, to encourage a feeling of interconnection and of being part of a National Organisation. If not, other ways of forwarding will be worked out.
Please be patient with your co-ordinators who will begin to notify groups of when they will receive the scrapbooks shortly. The number of groups in each region ranges from 32 to 76 so it may be some time before it reaches your group.
What happens when the 'scrapbook' reaches your group? You may already be aware that they are not actual books but sheets of A3 paper which will be combined and bound to form books.
It is anticipated that the project is completed by the end of 2020 and will be available to view at the 2021 Conference. Ultimately it will be presented to The Women's Library, where our archives are stored.
We hope you will all enjoy filling in your pages and look forward to seeing what NWR means to you!
Antoinette, Natalie and I recently spent a wonderfully interesting day at The Women’s Library (part of the British Library and currently housed at the London School Of Economics, LSE, in Central London) looking at 60 years of NWR heritage.
The Women's Library houses England’s primary library and museum resource on women, women’s issues and history, and the women’s movement from, primarily, the 19th and 20th centuries. The main collection dates back to the mid-1920s, though the core collection was formed from a library established by Ruth Cavendish Bentinck in 1909. These archives moved to LSE, as part of the British Library collection, in 2013.
We had the opportunity to view photos and marketing materials dating back to the early 60s even the official annual reports and financial returns, though we decided to leave those for another day!
It was lovely to see photos of the women who set up and ran the organisation from 1980 - having read the book that details our first twenty years 1960-1980 (“The Lively-Minded Women” by Betty Jerman published in 1980) and it was great to see the original materials upon which it was based. Antoinette was delighted to find some photos of the National Group in the 1980's which included her.
Some of the publicity materials looked very dated, as they would, but the Golden Anniversary literature (from 2010) looked fresh and vibrant. We also found a hidden gem – a poster from the 1960s – which we are thinking of rejuvenating for our anniversary! (watch this space). It was sobering and yet reassuring to find that the problems and issues we have today have been there over the years and are really a feature of informal organisations such as ours.
I felt very nostalgic when I found some local press cuttings from Leighton Buzzard from the 1980's and recognised the names of friends I met through NWR. I’d like to thank our members and LOs for keeping such excellent records of our history and I think we owe it to the next generation of NWR to ensure we continue to send in materials from the last 10 years and onwards.
For those of you (individually or as a group) who would like to see the archives for yourselves NWR members are welcome to visit by appointment - see http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/collection-highlights/the-womens-library or call LSE Library 020 7955 7229
Josephine Burt, Chair of Trustees
This year NWR made a commitment to our members to improve our accessibility as an organisation, including our responsibilities under the Equalities Act and financial accessibility, and to become and remain a Carbon Neutral organisation.
One initiative, launched in April, is the NWR members’ hardship fund. This is designed to ensure that members are never forced to leave NWR due to financial issues, illness etc. It also allows potential new members to receive subsidised membership, should hardship otherwise prevent them from joining.Our first hardship fund applicant came almost immediately via Susan, an LO.
Susan explained that a longstanding member, Belinda, had become seriously unwell and, when group subs renewals came around, found herself in difficulties. Her group felt — as I would — that it would be inappropriate to approach Belinda or her husband. So, what to do? Previously Belinda’s membership would have lapsed, along with that all-important connection with other women through our organisation’s local groups, regional events and conferences, regular newsletters and magazines and, of course, our very popular national conferences.
Fortunately, LO Susan knew about our new hardship fund and approached me directly. We discussed what NWR meant to Belinda and the nature of her illness. I decided to grant a three-month membership subsidy. Three months rolled by and Susan and I spoke again. Belinda had approached the group to ask about remaining a member and, to our delight, she said “Of course I want to stay!” Happy Days!
However, this isn’t about NWR or about one NWR group losing a member: it’s about making sure that women who want or need to be connected to likeminded women may do so - regardless of financial restrictions. Sitting at home today you might not consider that the loss of one member, long-term or new, matters - but it matters to them and it matters to me.
I am delighted to be with NWR to celebrate the diamond 60th anniversary and I am excited to see what we can do to involve as many women as possible in the years to come. So, as you peruse the magazine and attend your meetings, please think “What can I do, in my group or as an individual, to make sure that the objectives of NWR — to connect, to educate and intellectually stimulate women in my community — are honoured?” We all need to be thinking back over the past (nearly) 60 years and asking “What did I need?” and “What can I do now?”
Happy 59 and a halfth anniversary, and I look forward to seeing you all next year! AMH
Ten NWR friends recently visited Salisbury and enjoyed an informative walk around the fantastic Cathedral Close on Monday morning. The tour was lead by member Liz who told us many interesting facts about many of the houses.... the history, famous visitors and residents and the ghosts!
The sun was shining for (at least part of) the day and we enjoyed a jolly lunch in the Cathedral Refectory.
What a wonderful day! Please let us know what other events NWR members are enjoying around the country!
NWR are pleased to announce the launch of our Photographic competition – with twelve winning images being immortalised in a commemorative calendar to be released in celebration of our diamond anniversary in 2020.
First of all dust off your camera, refresh your skills while you're out and about, and get your creative juices flowing!
There are four categories:
We can accept pictures taken on any device but all images must be available, and submitted, in colour. If you wish to use film you may but the image should be initially submitted in a high-specification digital format. All images must be scaleable to A3. You may submit multiple entries to each category. Images will be judged by a panel of professional photographer, NWR’s Membership and Communications Coordinator and the NWR magazine editor.
Photographs will be judged on composition, focus, clarity, colour depth, overall image quality, creativity and relevance to the brief/topic.
Think about the brief. Be smart and use your imagination. De-clutter the image and focus on what your picture is about then fill the frame with it. Practice, Practice, Practice! Start taking your camera wherever you go and take photos every day – no matter how good a photographer you are we all get a little rusty.
Be original. Equipment, even on a phone, is incredible these days – the one thing you can always use to stand out is your own creativity. Put something of yourself in the image. Two photographers can shoot the same subject in the exact same conditions and produce totally different images.
How? By inserting your interpretation and your perspective. Shoot what you love. Use The Golden Triangle or rule of thirds – nature is based upon these magical mathematical rules and they will elevate your work too. Don’t centre your subject (usually). Use space.
Simplify and exaggerate – you may wish to use contrasting colours, juxtaposition with other objects, even shutter speed to give a well-defined image/scene. Create depth and use leading lines to draw the viewer in and create a journey through the image.
Lighting is everything! Never shoot into the sun/ in the middle of the day unless you REALLY know what you’re doing. Understand the “temperature” of the light. Use the golden hours at sunrise and sunset – the light is beautiful. Edit yourself ruthlessly!
Closing date 31/07/20. Terms and conditions apply. Full competition rules will eventually be available on the website.
Horbury and Ossett NWR recently welcomed 2018 Great British Bake-Off Contestant Karen Wright to a special meeting.
We were delighted to welcome Karen Wright, contestant in this year’s Great British Bake-Off to our recent meeting. Karen grew up not far away in Featherstone, West Yorkshire. Her entertaining talk came about thanks to a family connection and with the series aired and winner announced she was now able to speak freely.
Karen describes herself as a self-taught baker and stalker of French patisserie window displays. From the thousands who applied Karen really didn’t expect to get selected for the final twelve. She gave us an insight into the application process. The first stage was a lengthy form with questions about baking experience, including everything from hot water crust pastry to bread. She set about teaching herself to do those things she couldn’t do. After sending in the application a researcher rang for a lengthy chat, including technical questions about baking. This lead to a regional selection day. For this Karen had to make two things in advance. It was for this she realised that you needed to go in with confidence regardless of nerves underneath. After all they were looking for a mix of people who could bake and appear on television. A few days later she heard she had been chosen for a further selection day in London. It was on the train to London that she first recognised Kim Joy from the earlier regional selection. In the end Yorkshire was well represented in the programme.
Once selected contestants received lots of information on what would be required at each stage of filming. This gave them time to practice ideas. Filming took place on two long intensive days over weekends during the summer. All the contestants were excited to meet up and finally get into the tent for the first time. The tent is actually full of film crews following each contestant. Two days filming is all edited down to an hour’s programme.
What was perhaps most inspiring was how Karen had seen it as a personal challenge, showing her that she could achieve much more than she imagined. She brought along her designs and photos of her cakes showing us her innate creativity. Karen is not sure where it will all lead, but she is already in demand for talks and demonstrations locally and has set up her own website. She will be appearing next year at the well-known Wakefield Rhubarb Festival in February. She is more than anything keen to inspire others young and old to try something new. Maybe we all need to follow her lead and pick a personal challenge for 2019 and reach outside our comfort zone!
We had decided in advance that those who wanted would be asked to make three scones to a recipe of our choosing. Our competition for the evening was not against the clock, but there was still a bit of pressure to come up with presentable scones for the evening. We had a good selection of both savoury and sweet ones and it showed how creative you can be, even with the humble scone. Karen was happy to judge our efforts.
Our member Thérése Manship was the winner. Here’s her winning recipe:
· 2 medium eggs
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· 500g (18oz) plain flour
· 25g (1oz) baking power
· 75g (3oz) golden caster sugar
· finely grated zest of 1 orange
· finely grated zest of 1 lemon
· 125g (4 ½ oz) unsalted butter chilled and diced
· 200g mixed fruit
· Buttermilk, see recipe.
1. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor and add the sugar and zest. Add the butter and whiz to crumbs, then add the egg mixture and just enough buttermilk to bring the mixture together. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the dried fruit. You can always add a little more buttermilk if the mixture appears dry and crumbly, but take care not to overdo it otherwise the scones will spread.
2. Roll the dough out 2cm (¾ in) thick on a lightly floured worksurface and cut out scones using a 6.5 cm (2 ¾ in) cutter. Space well apart on one or two non-stick baking sheets and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
3. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then brush the top of the scones with milk and bake for 17-22 minutes until golden (the lower tray may take a little longer than the top).
The runner-up Angela Beardshall made cheese, pumpkin and poppy seeds scones with a rhubarb and ginger chutney.
We'd like to thank Karen for a most entertaining night!
You can find out more about Karen and future events, or contact her via her website: www.karenwrightbakes.co.uk
You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter @karenwrightbake
Newcomer Marian Stokes started her recruitment drive for the National Housewives Register by knocking on doors round the village in the Cambridgeshire fens she'd moved to from Greater Manchester. It was 1976.
Today Marian remains a keen and active member of the Wisbech NWR group she founded back then – and of both its offshoot book discussion groups. (The image shows founder member Marian Stokes and Marie O'Flaherty in glad rags at our 90th birthday party for the Queen.)
She said: 'I'd belonged to the then-NHR in Saddleworth, and was keen to promote the advantages of being a member. I can't believe how much energy and enthusiasm I had.'
Rosy Elliott (who celebrated her retirement three years ago with an NWR group visit to the town's historic Elgoods Brewery) said: 'I'd just had my first baby in 1976 and was struggling with being homebound when this stranger - Marian - knocked at the door.
'NHR was an intellectually stimulating lifesaver where I met wonderful friends. When I rejoined not long before I retired, some familiar faces were still around but I've also met many lovely new ones. I hope it carries on for another 42 years!'
In the past few years the Wisbech group has had a go at rolling and eating sushi, painting Chinese style, potato-printing and making cheese; watched Victoria Wood as diarist Nella Last after taking part in an NWR appeal for May 12 journal entries on Mass Observation's 80th anniversary; had talks from a ballet costumier, metal detectorists' club, local family history expert, cat behaviourist; made dishes for any number of pot-luck meals served indoors and out, and had passionate discussions – yet miraculously avoided ever falling out with each other.
Comparatively new member, Jill Clayton, still wonders at this. She said: 'My main memory on joining was of being made so welcome.This was so different from organisations where you were scrutinised to see if your face fit, if you wore the right clothes or went to the right places on holiday. Some members have been in the group from the beginning. We must be doing something right!'
3 great speakers, 7 groups, a big pot of tea, and oodles of freshly baked cakes – conference here we come!
With lots of homemade cake as usual and representatives from 7 different groups, from Morpeth, Northumberland down to Horbury and Ossett, West Yorkshire the Middlesborough Day Conference sounds like it was a roaring success!
Thank you, Andrea and the rest of the Middlesbrough organisers, for the great work you did as volunteers.
And thank you to our delegates for making the day a success. This conference is an amazing example of the NWR ethos - you get out tenfold what you put in!
“In the Pink” – Building a conference!
By Andréa Bowness-Etur – Local Organiser, Middlesborough
Where to start? Let’s start at the end - “In the Pink” was a wonderful day – with great speakers, thoroughly enjoyed by all the delegates (many of whom were dressed in pink!) who all left with great smiles on their faces! (You’ll find out why in a moment!)
Middlesbrough was a very small and new group when we held our first conference back in 2015. It was hard work and a huge learning curve, but it was also a roaring success. I was committed to doing another day conference as soon as we could! Fast forward to 2017…
I think we have all been affected by cancer in some way. Middlesborough NWR is no different and in one meeting in 2017 we discovered we had a member who had been diagnosed herself and another caring for a loved one with this awful disease. We felt it was time to start planning, and that a health and well-being theme was the way forward.
So, we thought, let’s hold it in October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We decided to include as many different aspects of health and wellbeing as possible, from physical to mental, in order to capture the interest of members and friends alike. I posted a request for speakers to The Inspire Network - a network for self-employed women in the North East. (Oh, the powers of social media!).
We are lucky to have an excellent comfortable venue which is easy to get to so everyone felt relaxed! – talk about “Location, Location, Location!”. We were positively inundated with ideas and eventually our group decided on three great, inspiring speakers each with a different take on health and wellbeing - from stress management, clean-eating, gut-health and nutrition - even laughter yoga!
So the day rolled round and 30 delegates from groups as far afield as Morpeth in the North, to Harrogate in the South arrived – much to our delight!
Before we introduced our speakers we held a fun quiz and raffle, with two top prizes provided by our speakers, raising all-important extra funds for future meetings, and our next conference!
And so to the main event – our amazing speakers - Liz Cairns, a holistic practitioner and self-management consultant; Claire Robinson, a clean-eating expert (whose mother is going through cancer treatment), and a Self-Discovery Coach for Women who told us all about self-care and self-esteem.
First up was Liz Cairns of Inspire Holistics who spoke about stress management and holistic health. She spoke about the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the importance of self-care and told us never to think you are being selfish by taking care of yourself. You can't care for others properly unless you are fit and well yourself....
Claire Robinson spoke about gut health, amongst several other interesting and important points surrounding nutrition and toxic ingredients and products. (I’m not sure she’d have approved of our trestle table heaving with sugary cakes and treats!)
We finished the day with “Laughing Yoga” – led by the wonderful Jan Turner! It really ended the day on a natural high - our theme was, after all, "Live, Love, Laugh - inspirational wellness in the pink"!
Our speakers were all so different but very educational and their message was clear - look after yourself, you only have one body and prevention is better than cure.
Would you believe that we did not suffer any hiccups this time around! It's always a bit worrying running up to an event - have we chosen the right speakers? Will they do a good job? Will they show up? LOL. It's impossible to please all of the people, all of the time but we had a good go at it and received a lot of messages of thanks after the event. it's very satisfying to know you have brought happiness and a fun filled day out to so many - and a nice big glass of wine was a wonderful treat in the evening! It's a good feeling to have done something so positive! I look forward to the next conference!