Is it really almost Christmas?

We are looking forward to the Christmas Party on Wednesday 19 December.  Get the glad rags out and get in the festive mood for a lovely Christmas supper and entertainment.  In the meantime your Committee have been busy getting a calendar of next year's meetings organised.  The schedule is now posted on the Meetings 2019 page.  Have you got your 2019 diary yet or is it still under the tree?  The meeting dates are always on the website and you will receive reminder emails.

WeyBay's monthly meetings have continued with very interesting speakers that attracted good turnouts of members.  The October speaker was Rachel Knowles who told us about 'What Regency Women Did for Us'.  Weymouth of course, was very much in the forefront of going-ons during this period so it was of particular interest to WeyBay. Rachel came dressed spectacularly in a Regency outfit and the members even got to find out what was worn underneath the outer layers.  Many of us felt very grateful to be living in an age with a more modern relaxed fashion.  She then gave us very interesting insight of several women who lived during the period.   Rachel Knowles has written a book of the same title which is available to purchase through Amazon.

November meeting saw the start of Christmas with
Catherine Nix from My Scented Home showing members how to make a classic door wreath.  She also brought along lots of lovely smelling items to buy.  It was a very well received evening and few of the ladies are going to follow it up with a workshop in her cottage in Corfe Castle. 

On Friday 23 November a full coach took a trip to Bath to take advantage of Black Friday shopping and the Christmas Markets.  This popular trip has now become an annual event with thanks to Marisa for organising.   

This year’s Dorset WI’s Annual Meeting at The Lighthouse in Poole was never going to be as exciting as last year’s Centenary - WeyBay weren’t singing!
But the meeting was opened by Christchurch WI with a very current sketch. They were dressed as Suffragettes and their song was both poignant and amusing.

The meeting continued with the usual round of updates and addresses and the morning ended with a surprisingly interesting speaker. If you think as the author did the talk “Passion for Pearls “was going to be boring you would be wrong. Frances Benton passion for pearls was kindled by her grandmother as a ten-year-old and she has loved them ever since. She told us about the value and rarity of natural pearls and the start of farmed pearls by Kokichi Mikimoto in 1893. He was able to mimic the natural process by implanting a nucleus into the oyster and the method he developed is still used today to form beautiful lustrous pearls.
A cracking talk and the afternoon speaker was even better! She was the Bake Off ‘s 2014 winner Nancy Birtwhistle and she was so funny! Nancy had an amusing start to her audition to Bake Off and arrived soaking wet from a rain storm with a soggy Lemon Meringue Pie after turning up at the wrong venue. She thinks her repartee with judges as she rushed in may have earned her a place on the show though of course it was her baking that made her the winner. Pastry was her speciality and the author is about to try out her unique method. Jam puffs anyone?

A thoroughly interesting meeting but not many WeyBay members present. It’s really worth booking up next year.

Our endless summer has come to a crashing end but what a wonderful way to start the autumn season.  WeyBay WI hosted its inaugural Country Fayre at their first evening meeting after the summer break, with members invited to enter products and produce for a selection of categories.  Neil Croad started the evening with a talk about his experiences making jams, chutneys and drinks and entering, and successfully winning many prizes in local shows.  Who knew that a quiche shouldn’t have a fluted pastry case?  Certainly, if you want to win at a prestigious show this is true.  Even though WeyBay’s was a much more relaxed event, he and fellow judge Sarah Simpson, art and textile design teacher and member of Artwey, took a long time scrutinising all the entries and making their carefully considered decisions. They were very complimentary about the high standard of all the entries.  Well done to everyone who took part, and it’s not all about the winning (from your author who was less than successful).

After the presentation of prizes, members were able to check out the entries and taste the produce and discuss.  There was plenty of discussion and a lot of tips being passed around, and members enjoyed being able to chat and catch up after the summer break. Well done to everyone who put in a lot of effort to set this up.  It is planned to have another Country Fayre next year so start checking the recipe books or get the camera or knitting needles out.  


The three book clubs are a very successful part of WeyBay.   The members organise the group themselves taking it in turn to choose books to read.  The original book club is run by Louise Swinton and she had taken the time to write this report of the recently read books.  You will find it interesting and it should encourage everyone to get reading and maybe try something that they wouldn't normally consider.

So far this year we have read some old and some new books.

In January we read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Everyone really enjoyed this, even though some had read it a long time ago. We scored it 10/10 (unheard of before).

Beautifully  written through the eyes of the two children of Atticus Finch, it gave us an excellent insight into prejudiced life in a 1930’s small town in the Deep South. Atticus was employed to represent a young black man accused of the rape of a white woman.  Full of horror, humour and wisdom, this book is a “must read”.

Little Women by Louisa  May Alcott.  Again some of us had read this when we were young but we decided that to reread a book years later gives a different perspective.

This was based on the Author’s life and was published in 1868! It is a moral tale of family life around the time of the Civil War. The mother guides her four teenage girls to develop their own personalities yet to be aware of good family values. The innocence of those times is brought out well. We all loved the support the sisters gave each other and the simplicity of life was well described. How times have changed! 8/10 

Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga. This story is set in Mumbai and centres around a group of people who live in a block of dilapidated flats. The residents get along with life and each other in a an accepting way. Their whole existence changes when they are approached by a developer who offers them large sums of money to leave their homes so that he can demolish the building and rebuild his “dream” apartment block. The rest of the story centres around the greed, corruption and dreams of each flat owner. The descriptions of life in India are excellent. 7/10

The Annual Council Meeting for Dorset was pretty special this year as 2017 is Dorset’s Centenary Year so Dorset’s trustees pulled out all the stops to make this meeting memorable.

It got off to a cracking start with your very own WeyBay singing their own version of ‘Cheap Flights’ – a very witty take on Ryanair.

The main speaker was Janet Street Porter who kept the 900 members entertained with her story of her journalistic life.  Most of WeyBay warmed to her and felt she appeared more likeable than she sometimes appears on the television.

Paul Connery was the afternoon speaker.  Not an easy gig after a long lunch but his talk on Well Being and Keeping Fit was well received by those who managed to stay awake.  Diabetes 3 is the new worry apparently and is what health professionals are calling Alzheimer’s which now has links to sugar consumption.  Your writer was made to feel that consuming sugar was as bad as smoking a cigarette!

All was well with the ending of the meeting in true fashion with an enthusiastic rendering of Jerusalem.

Report by Sandra Jones


With Christmas approaching how about looking at what WeyBay’s book clubs have been reading?  Lots of ideas for presents here or just treat yourself to one of their good choices.

Book club number 1 highly recommend The New Woman by Charity Norman.  It was an easy read despite covering an emotional subject area.  It covered transgender issues which impacted on family and friends and made the readers feel sympathy for all involved.  Their other good read was The Edge of the Orchard by Tracey Chevalier.  The story centres around a very dysfunctional family living in all consuming poverty in Ohio during the early to mid-1800s.  The family’s struggle to exist are very well described and terrible family events cause the family to separate and the book follows the life of one son who embarks on a fascinating life in California.

Spa Book club sometimes meet in the Ship at Upwey for a change, and their two “must reads” are The Dry by Jane Harper - a page-turning thriller and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - hard to describe but top marks from all members of the Spa Book club .

The Bookcover Girls has been going for nearly 2 years and meet in The George on the Quay. They all enjoyed the Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier and think The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah would make an ideal Christmas present. This book was enjoyed by the Spa Book club too.

Alan Johnson ‘s trilogy This Boy, Please Mr Postman and The Long and Winding Road - the ex-Labour Party politician’s biography have been loved or on the list for all three book clubs and are another idea for Christmas gifts.

The forecast was optimistic but uncertain when we set out on the 2017 Trust-Me-You-Can-Do-This-Triathlon. The day previous had been wild, wet and blustery but that did not put off the 9 intrepid ladies who took part!

We gathered in bright sunshine at Greenhill near the paddling pool having been generously lent the use of a beach hut by Sue Bray.

The air was warmish - the water was not! However after a few strokes we acclimatised and warmed up bit - lots of chat helped us while away the 20 minutes in the water. Most of us swam gently parallel to the shore but Charlie struck out with a fine display of front crawl  - olympic style.

The sound of the whistle had us (reluctantly?) heading for shore to get changed and have our hot chocolate, coffee etc and homemade flapjack. More chat, photographs and a catch up with our supporters then it was time to head off on our bikes eastward into the gathering cloud.

2 and a half miles into the cycle we were hit by a short sharp shower which had us momentarily sharing a bus shelter with another cyclist before deciding to continue despite the rain which was beginning to slow.

A decision was made for early lunch at the change station at Carolyn’s house before setting out for the final leg - a circular walk through the reed beds and along the Preston Road Esplanade into very black threatening clouds. At this point we lost 2 members to more pressing domestic obligations.They promised to complete the final leg in their own time later of course

Halfway through our walk the clouds produced another short sharp shower which had us sheltering momentarily before heading out on the home stretch. The Triathlon ended with presentation of certificates and much enthusiasm for meeting up at next year’s event. Hopefully we can persuade a few more people to take part next year.

Speak to anyone who has done this Triathlon and they will confirm that Yes absolutely anyone can do it and it is great fun!

Many many thanks to Sheilah Mc Gregor and Yasmin Hellings for helping out with drinks and carrying kit to different stages


WeyBay WI celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Dorset Federation in style at Weymouth Sailing Club.  Previous years the club has enjoyed a summer beach party, but 2017 required something a bit special so it was arranged to have a BBQ on the sailing club's terrace with a toast to the Dorset Federation in Prosecco.

An amazing turnout of 92 WeyBay members spent the evening wining and dining with a stunning backdrop of the bay that the club takes its name from.  Committee member Sue Wormald decorated the clubroom in party style using a pink beach bucket theme and committee members followed the theme with a bright pink dress code.  No wonder that WeyBay is thriving with such enthusiasm.

President Sheila Vogwell led the toast and the members sang Jerusalem led by the WeyBay WI choir.  Cherry Bush gave details of a proposed walk to Lulworth Castle – details on the What’s On page.  August is traditionally a holiday month with no meeting, but members will have a lot to look forward to in September with a full programme of various events planned for the rest of the year.

It was a great evening and generally judged to have been a huge success.  Well done and thanks to the organisers.  And congratulations to Dorset Federation.  Enjoy your Weymouth summer.

Photo above shows committee members Maris Ronzetti, Belinda Sedgbeer, President Sheila Vogwell, Sue Wormald and Tracey Chevis

Although there was no August meeting WeyBay members haven't been idle !  Cherry Bush led 14 members on an eight mile walk and there were no blisters !  They trekked to Lulworth Castle from Wareham and passed the scenic Shag Lake where the photo below was taken.  After a break at the lake they set off for Lulworth Castle with the promise of an ice cream on arrival.  No such luck ! The Castle was closed preparing for the annual Bestival where some WeyBabes manned the tea tent.  This didn't spoil a wonderful walk - well done Cherry. 

Other active members enjoyed a mainly flat cycle ride from Lodmoor via Oasis cafe then along the Rodwell Trail  to the Sailing Academy for lunch - photo left shows them after lunch on the way to the Water Lily Farm for tea.  This was a brilliant cycle ride using Weymouth's cycle paths and was arranged faultlessly by Jan Summers. Thanks Jan. 

The lunch club met for a very convivial get together at The Market House Bridport away from the crowded Weymouth town centre.  The members take it in turns to book a venue.  The September evening meal with be at The Stable on Weymouth's harbour.  

Thank you to everyone who steps forward with ideas of walks, bike rides, lunches and lots more.  WeyBay is thriving because of you.

Have you checked out our Things to Do pages?  The WeyBay committee have been busy arranging trips and get-togethers for WeyBay's lucky members.  In the next weeks there are a cycling day in the New Forest and a visit to Morton Church planned as well as the monthly 'coffee mornings with a walk' and newly formed Lunch Club.  Keep an eye on the website to see what's going on or find out details from the monthly meetings. 


One of the more successful activities in WeyBay WI are the Book Clubs. Two have been running for a couple of years and now a third has been started. Each Book Club member gets the chance to recommend a book to the others and then it is discussed and the group decide on whether to recommend it. The meetings take place in a very social setting and they have spawned into doing other activities together. Go to the Things to Do pages to see what the groups are reading at the moment and what they have enjoyed most. You might get some ideas for Christmas gifts.

WeyBay members have joined an institution that was started 1915 and now has 205,000 members in 6,800 WIs.  It is the largerst voluntary women's organisation in the UK.  WeyBay is part of the Dorset Federation based in Dorchester. 
Each WI is self-governing within the framework of the WI constitution and rules.  
The WI is a diverse organisation open to all women with WIs in towns, cities and villages.
Denman College is an adult education centre in Oxfordshire run by the WI and courses run there are available to all members.
Regional events are organised and advertised in Dorset WI News which are handed out at meetings. 
Members have the opportunity to learn new skills, to take part in wide-ranging activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities.  The possibilities are endless.
WeyBay WI adds one other important proviso - that members enjoy themselves!