Dear Pat and Sandon WI friends,   5th July, 2015


All reports tell of a hot Northern summer,  and Pat’s letter reinforces the information, so if you are out enjoying the sun you will be soaking up one of health’s essentials, vitamin D.   A recent warning from Health authorities has been sounded here, the old Victorian scourge of rickets has emerged again in underprivileged children, with vitamin D deficiency being the main factor in its reappearance. Thankfully it is well understood and can be dealt to.


We will all be glad when we are in your situation again and taking up that free Vitamin,  as during these months here, the polar rodents are never far away, threats of two or three approaching from the south are common every week or so,  and you can believe they send their scouts ahead, judging by the cold winds, at present coming in off the Tasman Sea. 


We were interested to know that the ploughman’s lunch is much more appealing these days, with yours designed for ladies.  It is one of those versatile adjustments that can be made with the benefit of history.  We find that food seems to be great entertainment here in NZ, TV channels are always advertising new cooking shows, Masterchef, Guess who’s Coming to Dinner, My Kitchen Rules and suchlike. I must admit I rather like The Hairy Bikers, (UK) who are humorous and seem to make interesting edibles even when cooking by the side of the road.


Joyce McEwen was not with us on Wednesday as her son died last month.  He had been ailing for many years.  I was told on Wednesday that Joyce had a lovely celebration on her birthday and the fact that Gavin was so low by then was withheld from her until after her special day,  the reasons why would be well understood by everyone. 


Norma’s sojourn continued a little longer than planned.  We enjoyed a talk by a local historian Garry O’Neill,  who has written books on suburbs in this city, detailing beginnings during  pioneering days. Very interesting.  He projected early photos, and with a voice easily heard,  helped those of us who often strain to hear.


Bev and members of Federation attended the National Fed of WI AGM, and were happy to report a lovely time was enjoyed, with good weather during the three days.  All remits went through with large majorities.  Bev says the speakers and entertainment were wonderful.   The delegates and visitors returned home from New Plymouth just ahead of flooding in the Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu districts, which devastated many areas as much as the 2004 floods had done. Different places, but some were unlucky enough to be inundated again.  There were wintry temperatures at the time and following the rain, which made conditions very miserable for people with flooded homes. Some will not be able to return because of sodden walls, floors and sewage contamination.  We saw one house on TV which had had some of its floor boards lifted by the force of water underneath.  Whanganui was particularly hard hit and there were over 400 homes immersed, many in more remote areas, and difficult to reach, helicopters eventually rescuing some, including babies.


It must have been quite an exceptional time  for WI members in U.K. during the centenary celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall, when the Queen and other royal ladies came to visit,  and how convenient that you could view proceedings at a local venue. Member Barbara Clark gave me some cuttings from the International Express newspaper with photos of the visit;  the article mentioned amusement when the Queen had a little difficulty cutting the rich cake.  No doubt the royal ladies were quite thrilled with the gift of a cake each.


Manawatu’s half-yearly Council meeting is to be held in October, later in the month than usual, but this time each W.I. is being asked to present an item of up to five minute’s duration.  All Milson’s former material is now lodged in the Archives;  probably those old skits will be showing their age, too old hat to be considered.  I have an idea we may be contacting the one who knows all, Mr Google, to see if he has some ideas.  It is quite amusing to think of having to prepare something, I thought we’d all long retired, but suppose as ‘girls’ can do anything, we’ll rise to the challenge.


Further to that ‘Directive’, which makes one draw breath rapidly,  it will be with Government approval although at a discreet distance.  The Charities Commission seems determined to find anything taxable. The WI will be just one of several organisations which have been presented with this ‘request’. It is an arm of government.    


We wish you a happy meeting this week as you hear about ‘Remapping  Essex ‘, and DIY stories.


From your Milson WI friends,

& Pauline