To Pat and all our Sandon WI friends,


Greetings to everyone as we resume after the break.  Weatherwise,  it has been all rather dismal,  but we still seemed to romp through January very quickly.  Yes, many people must be aggrieved over the inability to properly enjoy their summer break, especially so for children as it was their annual long holiday, although most kids just got on with it, and the local Lido swim complex would have been well patronised.  Even so,  it is hard if the rain and wind persist when expectations are high for warm sunny days. 


We’ve had our best day of summer so far,  today,  the day prior to the annual Waitangi Day, which I see was noted on my Essex calendar, quite a special recognition by your County, so far away from this small remote land.  The day has been beautifully warm, with no wind to speak of, and a similar forecast for tomorrow, which is of course a holiday, being New Zealand’s National day. The 6th of February is the day that in 1840, at Waitangi, Northland,  Governor Hobson and a few English dignitaries signed a Treaty with the Maori race, to place this country under the protection and governance of the English Queen, Victoria.  Being humankind, many things have gone awry over the years, and it hasn’t quite come right  yet,  but there is great good will, mostly, to  work at the relationship, with old land takeovers and snatches, which cheated the indigenous people of their rights, gradually being put right,  with realistic monetary settlements and where possible,  land restored. 


We were surprised, but very pleased to see Bev back at W.I. on Wednesday.  She seemed to be a great deal improved, to when I saw her three or so weeks previously, when I was able to give her your best wishes for her good recovery.  Her daughter-in-law brought her, who seemed to think she was up to managing everything again.  And as the day progressed, so did Bev, handling the meeting very well.  We all hope she will continue improving,  but not too quickly, for her sake.  She was able to hear at first hand your hopes for her improving health.   More good news is that our young member, Christine Mason, gave birth to her little son prior to his expected arrival date, a few days early. He was a big baby, so it was to the good that he came when he did rather than late.  Two of our members did not fare so well over the break, Norma Angus stricken with a heart attack, and Joyce McEwen had a fall, both progressing but feeling the after effects of their experiences.


We enjoyed our beginning of the year barbecue, a fund raiser for the Federation project, St John.   We spent time talking about events to come, and planning.  This month we again celebrate Founder’s Day, the 96th, hopefully a brilliant day such as last years’, as it will take place at the Esplanade, in the open air.  At the Federation AGM this year, in April,  National President Kay Hart, will visit for the day.


As I read Pat’s letter to members, that reminded them of the time Pat and Malcolm had visited Milson,  just on ten years ago.  I asked for a show of hands from those who were there on the day, and it was pleasing to see how many had been there on that auspicious occasion.  We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience of hosting our special couple from our Link so far away.   Our numbers have fallen since that time, unfortunately it is happening in many of the local Institutes, the older people falling away, and no new members joining due to New Zealand circumstances, women working, in the main.


June Crosland, acting secretary for most of the year has committed to this position officially, we hope she will continue after the AGM.


Our members were very impressed with Val Chiswell’s great flying adventure.  What wonderful bravery she has to carry out such a hair-raising deed, and for something she must be very committed to.  We all say ‘Well done,  Val’.  How thrilling to hear the real Titanic story, it must have been marvellous to hear the original words of survivors.  Member Betty Goston’s father and family emigrated to NZ in 1912 in the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic I think it was.



Our best wishes to you all from your friends of Milson WI,

& Pauline