An endless summer ....

The summer tradition of a Beach Party for the July meeting is always popular and well attended.  This year the evening was balmy and seventy ladies descended on Pete's beach hut on Greenhill beach.  What a wonderful spot to have a party; Weymouth was at its best.  The committee organised a fish and chip supper delivered by The Marlborough Fish and Chip shop followed by ice creams all round.  Thanks go to Pete for the hospitality of his Beach cafe.  It was a fun evening for people to mix and chat with friends, and some dared to go for a swim. 
The committee (photo left) received several messages of thanks for their hard work in making the Beach party a success.

PADDLEBOARDING - it’s not as easy as it looks! 

This summer is certainly a paddle-boarder‘s dream. Calm sea and endless sunshine - how difficult can it be?   Seven members of WeyBay joined other WIs from around Dorset at The Sailing Academy at Portland to test just that.

They all had expert tuition from Bryony and Kirstie, all loved it and one or two are going to go again!   Bryony started everyone on their knees on the boards to learn the basics of paddling and then it was time to stand up - or fall off!  Special mention must go to Sue Murray who stood up and paddled very early but all WeyBabes were standing paddling back to the Academy at the end of the two-hour session. And thanks to Jo Skinner for organising this chance to try out something different.  

Tips for future paddle-boarders - it’s easier to get back on the board in shallow water and don’t spend too much time on your knees!  

WeyBay’s summer continued with their annual bike ride organised again brilliantly by Jan Summers.
It started and finished at the Beefeater and continued mainly by cycle paths to Portland for a coffee at the Boat That Rocks. Twenty WeyBabes continued back along the Rodwell Trail and three did an extra loop with beautiful views over the Fleet.  Photos shows the whole team at the start of the Rodwell trail.

After a welcome lunch at the Turks Head the cyclists continued via Coldharbour to South Cottage at Nottington where WeyBay member Liz Varlow supplied ice creams. Did they go down well!

Thanks Jan - where to next year?


A visit to a country house in the wonderful Dorset countryside will raise the spirit and 'take you out of yourself'.  And what better than to make that visit with a group of friends.  Twenty members of WeyBay WI went to visit Shute House in Dorset, the magnificent and atmospheric water garden designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1969 and best known for its famous musical rill. The garden was completed 25 years later in 1994 when the present owners John and Suzy Lewis arrived and asked Sir Geoffrey to return and finish the garden, and is said to be Jellicoe’s favourite design. The River Nadder rises naturally high in the garden and has been magically diverted into a series of canals, pools and waterfalls that pass through several of garden rooms, culminating in the rill as it drops down over a series of copper lined steps to create a musical cascade. 

It is primarily a private garden, a place of quiet reflection and tranquillity, but laced with theatrical delight. The water cascades into octagonal, square and hexagonal pools, each one with a bubbling fountain in the centre. All of them had to be painstakingly restored. 

Shute House shares its deliberately restricted colour palette, and the elements of water, stone and evergreen planting. A formal lake, with black swans that follow Suzy as she walks, contrasts with the informality of willow, fern and wisteria bordering the water. Each glassy surface acts as a mirror to the sky, so on still days you are not sure if what you are experiencing is real or a reflection in the water.

After the wonderful tour of the gardens the ladies enjoyed delicious home made cakes, up to WI standard, in the garden before returning home to Weymouth.


 The WeyBay committee is imaginative in coming up with new ideas for the monthly meetings and the September meeting will be a fresh and different evening for the members – a WeyBay Country Fayre.   Members are invited to submit their entries for the several chosen categories.  Details have been advertised to all members and applications forms will be available at the next meeting, but you can apply by email.

The categories include cakes and baking, preserves, homemade drinks alcoholic and non-alcoholic, craft, photography and floral arrangements. Prizes will be awarded for first and second. Entry is free. Entries must be at the Vic Bars between 4pm - 5pm for judging on 19th September.  Closing date for applications 31st July.

A good turnout ensures a successful evening so sign up and enjoy this novel event.  Happy cooking and creativity.


The April meeting is an important one for WeyBay.  It is the Annual Meeting when the year is reviewed by the 
President and members choose the committee for the coming year. The photo shows the committee receiving the wonderful hydrangea bouquets in thanks from the WeyBay membership. 

The speaker for the evening was James Feaver of Hedgerow Harvest who gave a talk on Foraging and Wild Food.

James started with a brief history of how and why he began foraging and how as word spread it led to him building his current business.  People wanted to know more, so he developed courses on foraging in the countryside, on the sea shore and generally the highways and byways of the land. 

Members guessed successfully the most commonly foraged foods – blackberries, elderflower & berries, mushrooms, samphire, wild strawberry, garlic & stinging nettles, puffballs, sloes, hazelnuts, sweet chestnut and elderberries. James explained how the WI were actively involved in the Second World War by sharing the benefits of foraging and providing recipes to help food go further, be healthier and enhance the wartime diet.  He also mentioned some of the negative press that foraging had received over the years, with the WI being named as the biggest organised crime group by a police sergeant!

James explained that wild food was anything edible and not managed to improve production this applied to plants, fungi, seaweed, animals on land and water (fresh and salt) and that foraging was the act of looking or searching for food or provisions not used for survival but was combined with conventional foods plus use for medicine and dyes for cloth. He pointed out that the benefits of foraging included being out in the fresh air, getting exercise and accessing good cheap food reaping natures harvest. It made a connection with the land and changing seasons, it’s free, relaxing, gives enjoyment and teaches the next generation who have far less knowledge or access to the land than their parents and grandparents.

James emphasised that every forager has rights and responsibilities. The right to forage on common law land but to take responsibility and ask permission on private land and to abide by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  Picking should be a considered activity so that all wild food has the opportunity to regenerate. He pointed out that there is always a risk and a forager should know what fungi, plants, berries are poisonous and what areas may be polluted by heavy traffic or pesticides.  James recommended always thoroughly wash all foraged food. He went on to talk about the seasons with spring being the most prolific for new growth both in the countryside and along the shoreline – salad leaves spinach, asparagus, ground elder, wild garlic, chickweed, nettles, some fungi, wild rocket, samphire, sea beet, wild fennel, sea buckthorn and various seaweeds. Summer continues with the berries ripening along with the other crops that started in the spring. In the autumn its harvest time with focus on the fruits, nuts and fungi. During James’ presentation, he mentioned so many foods plus all the recipes that could come from these wild and free goodies by using preserving methods such as pickling, syrups, ketchup, jellies, soups, jams, drying, and of course alcohol with wines and spirits!

This very interesting and informative talk ended with a busy Q&A session. Clearly everyone had enjoyed the talk and learnt a little something along the way.

1.     If you are interested to find out more, check the websites Foraging – Hedgerow Harvest The English Truffle Company 


The WeyBay March speaker gave a very enlightening talk about nutrition and Diabetes.

Isabel Hooley is Dorset’s only private Diabetes dietitian but she also works for the NHS. Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition which has many forms. Understanding it can be confusing.  Many of the WeyBay members raised their hands when she asked if they knew someone who was living with the disease. 

Isabel talked about different food types and explained brilliantly how nothing is taboo, you can eat anything in moderation and how coping with Diabetes is a lifestyle and shouldn’t be a millstone.

There were so many questions from the floor that Isabel over ran by 30 minutes.  Such a very enthusiastic speaker that answered a lot of our questions about diet.


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!