Hot Topics February 2018

Fiona opened the meeting by welcoming 77 members and 3 guests. Fiona then drew our attention to the various Centenary events mentioned in the Surrey WI News which will be happening over the summer – a copy of which will be on the noticeboard. Amongst other things, there is the Barnes Fair on Saturday 9th June which is organised by the 14 London South West WIs and where we will be running the Tombola stall – thank you to those who have brought in gifts for this. There will also be an evening at RHS Wisley on Thursday, 28th June, a Richmond Park walk on 17th March and our own walk on 9th March. More details about these below.

Quiz Night: Fiona reminded everyone about our quiz night and how enjoyable it is. It is on Saturday 24th March at 7.30 St. Mary’s Church Hall, Merton Park. Tickets are £13 and include a ploughman’s supper. You can either make up a table of 8 or come on your own and join a table. Everyone welcome. Please contact Gillian if you would like a ticket.

A few words of thanks: Fiona mentioned that we had received a letter from Foodbank thanking us for all our contributions.
Eileen also thanked all the members who have made the lovely items to send out to Kenya. These are taken out to a community near Mombasa by members of Merton Park Explorer Scout Group. A number of years ago the scouts helped to build school rooms and a doctor’s surgery. The leaders continue to visit a couple of times a year taking items to support the maternity clinic such as teddies, jumpers, hats and tote bags (containing baby toiletries). If you would like to make a jumper or teddy you can find the links on our website. The leaders will be going out to Kenya over Easter so please bring any finished items to our March meeting.

Perfect Pollinators: As part of the Centenary Celebrations Surrey WIs have been invited to create a Perfect Pollinator which will be displayed at RHS Wisley. So why not be creative and have a go. If you are interested, we need to notify SFWI by 1st April that we are taking part so please let us know.
The Specification
The Federation is requesting as many WIs as possible to create an exhibit of an enlarged Pollinator Insect as realistic as possible including the colouration. No florescent colours may be used. The exhibits are to be distributed around the RHS Wisley garden. If the exhibit is intended to be displayed hanging from a tree, then a suitable hook should be attached for that purpose.
The pollinators we hope to see are bees, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles.
The size of the completed Pollinator should not exceed a breadth of 1 metre, width of 1 metre and height of 1 metre. The finished Pollinator must be limited in weight to 5 kg. Please be aware that you must limit the size such that the assembled exhibit fits into your car. The Pollinator may be made of any material but it must be robustly weatherproof as it will be left outside in the gardens for some days. Suitable materials include wire, chicken wire or flexible wood to make the basic structure and a material cover eg tights for wings. Robust wrapping must be applied to ensure that nothing will drop off or get blown away particularly if polystyrene or loose, non-biodegradable material is used.
The exhibit should be delivered to RHS Wisley complete. A team of RHS staff and WI members will be positioning and fixing the exhibits round the area where they are to be exhibited during the week starting 25 June.

NFWI Raffle Tickets: Lys said she now has these raffle tickets for sale so please see her over the next few meetings to buy them at £1 each.

Social Committee Notices: The following events have been arranged and there are still spaces. Please contact Gillian if you would like to go
Afternoon Tea at St. Pancras Hotel on Saturday, 17th March (£38)
Quiz Night, Saturday, 24th March (£13)
Blue Badge Whitechapel Walk, Saturday, 12th May (£9)
Lullingstone Castle, Wednesday, 4th July (£27.50)

SFWI Centenary Celebrations 2018 – Walk 100 Miles for 100 Years:
Two walks have been organised as part of the above celebrations.
The first is organised by Liz, one of our members, and will be from Kew Bridge to Strawberry Hill on Friday, 9th March. Members who signed up for this will be receiving further details in due course. Anyone else wishing to join us, please let us know.

The second walk is a Richmond Park Walk which has been organised by South West London WIs. The plan is to start at 10.30 on Saturday, 17th March. The exact meeting places have yet to be confirmed but there will a refreshment stop at Pembroke Lodge so those not wishing/able to walk far can park there and meet to share a short mile and refreshments.

There will be the option to walk either a couple of miles or a longer 6 or 7 mile route. The miles will be totalled amongst our WI members to add towards the 100 miles for 100 years total.

As London WIs are holding their centenary event on Saturday, June 9th it would be great to be able to display any documentation about our walks as part of this. You could document in a journal, photos, a short diary or any other way you choose.

Our speaker for the evening was Michelle from The Little Honey Bee Company who gave a very interesting talk on bees. She brought with her some props and products made from honey.

One artefact she brought was a beehive made from polystyrene which is particularly suited to beekeeping in Britain. In our cold wet winters, wooden beehives become damp and the wood saturated but in a dry, warm, poly hive the situation is quite different. The insulation keeps the bees warm whatever the weather, rain simply runs off the outside, and any moisture inside the hive runs out of the open mesh floor, keeping the colony warm, dry, and above all, healthy.
Bees have their own unique ways of coping with cold temperatures. As the weather becomes cool, the honeybees gather in a central area of the hive and form a “winter cluster.” Bees have one main job in the winter — to keep the queen bee warm and safe. In order to do so, worker bees surround the queen and form a cluster with their bodies. The worker bees then flutter their wings and shiver. This constant motion and continuous use of energy is how the bees keep the inside temperature of the hive warm. In order to keep shivering, the bees must have enough honey. This is how they get their energy. One of the most important jobs of the beekeeper in the winter is to make sure the honey supply stays full so the bees can keep shivering. The worker bees rotate from the outside to the inside of the cluster, so no individual worker bee gets too cold.
Facts about bees:
• Honeybees are the only insect that produces food eaten by humans.
• Worker honeybees are female.
• The average worker bee produces only 1/12 teaspoon of honey over her lifetime.
• A worker bee lives about 6 weeks. The queen bee can live to be 5 years old.
• Honey never spoils.
• To make one pound of honey, bees must visit 2 million flowers.
• Swarming is the process by which a new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees
For further information visit

Diary Dates:
Friday, 9th March – Wimbledon WI walk – Kew to Strawberry Hill
Saturday, 17th March – London SWWIs walk – Richmond Park
Saturday, 17th March – Afternoon Tea at St. Pancras Hotel
Monday, 19th March – SFWI Annual Council Meeting
Monday, 19th March – March Meeting Bollywood Dance Experience
Saturday, 24th March – Quiz Night
Saturday, 12th May – Whitechapel Walk
Saturday, 9th June – London SWWI’s Centenary Fair
Thursday, 28th June – SFWI Picnic at RHS Wisley (6.00pm – 9.30pm)
Wednesday, 4th July – Lullingstone Castle
Sunday, 22nd July – Morden Family Fun day
Sunday, 9th September – Wimbledon Stables Day
Monday, 8th October – SFWI Autumn Meeting