The De Beauvoir Flower and Produce Show (and Dog Show) has been taking place every year since 1979 (at least).
This year, for the first time, WE are jointly organising the show with De Beauvoir Gardeners and this means that we need some help and volunteers. We are not only running the cake stall (domestic delights) but helping with all aspects of the show which is a really lovely annual event – a village style show in the heart of London. It celebrates this corner of Hackney’s growing, creative and dog owning communities and is promoted through local schools to encourage children to bake, draw, grow and make – we even have cup cake decorating on the day.
As well as the usual flower, produce, baking and preserve categories there are new (WI) craft entries as follows:
- For children – A glove puppet made from a sock
and for everyone:
- Greeting card in any medium (e.g. sewn, painting, collage, photograph, crafting)
- A floral tea or egg cosy, stitched, knitted or crocheted
- Homemade piece of jewellery (brooch, necklace, bracelet or ring) on a garden theme
To make this year a success we really need your help in lots of ways:
- Volunteers to help for a couple of hours on a stall.
- Volunteers to help with setting up or clearing up. This includes husbands and burley teenagers to help with the heavy work of setting up gazebos, carrying books and tables – either in the morning or at the end (or both).
- As many individual entries in all categories as possible (we are not doing WI group entries this year) again encourage neighbours, relatives and children to enter too. CLICK HERE to see all the categories so you can start planning your entries now.
- Contributions of nice items for the tombola (bring items to the August and September meetings).
- Whole cakes and savouries to sell on the day.
- Bring your dog along and consider entering the floral fancy dress category.
- Promote the show on facebook or twitter using the links on this page.
- Put a poster up.
We will have sign-up sheets and be available for questions at the August social where we will also distribute posters and leaflets for those who have already signed up for leaflet distribution.
For those of you who missed Party in the Park here are some pictures of our hugely successful tea and cake stall. Huge THANKS to everyone who baked, helped, organised, served and cleared up. Congratulations to the De Beauvoir Association for another brilliant community event. We would also like to give special thanks to two local sponsors, Biscuitea on Southgate Road and De Beauvoir Deli for their generous (and professional) donations.
Queue for £5 a box of a cake at the end of the day
De Beauvoir WI tea and cake stall, Party in the Park 2016
De Beauvoir WI members
Biscuitea donated these two amazing cakes
Goats cheese and red pepper palmiers
Mascarpone and summer fruits cake
Lemon and chocolate cup cakes
Something for everyone
Sarah and Nichola setting up
For those of you who missed July’s meeting – it was a cracker! There was more about baking but this time is was all about bread. Ben Mackinnon described how he founded artisan bakery E5 Bakehouse, in the corner of a railway arch in London Fields in 2011. The bakery has enjoyed huge success and the popularity of sourdough bread has spread but although he now employs 46 people he still runs the business along strong sustainable and ethical principals. Not least deliveries – which are only by bicycle – limiting them to Hackney restaurants and delis. Ben talked with passion, expert knowledge and candid good humour as we fired question after question at him. For those of you interested here is my own blog post on sending my husband to an E5 Bakehouse workshop for his birthday.
Nia – Ending Violence Against Women
We had another speaker at July’s meeting – the wonderful Heather Harvey from Nia, our chosen charity in 2015. She talked about the work that they do and the wide range of projects they run which range from a rape crisis support line to helping women exit prostitution. Small charities like Nia, which do so much to try to change the lives of frightened and vulnerable women and girls needs as much good PR and support as possible. One small thing that we can all do is vote for Nia in the Adiah Antigha Community awards, please show your support by voting for them through this link. I think many of us felt that their work was something that we could all help to promote and I am sure we will be discussing how we can help do this in the future.
August – Pub meet up
We don’t meet in the Crypt in August because it tends to be quieter due to summer holidays. We have a social instead and we are meeting in the back room at the Scolt Head at 7.30pm for a good old natter. It’s a great opportunity to discuss ideas for future speakers and WI resolutions so if you have ideas bring them along. Members get one glass of wine on us.
If you didn’t make it to last Thursdays meeting you missed out on the delicious smells of lavender, frankincense, nutmeg, and immortelle. Jane Williams gave us an expansive talk about aromatherapy which started with the history of the art of using scent extracted from plants and spices and ended with members giving themselves a personally scented hand massage. We smelled fresh leaves gathered from Jane’s garden, compared varieties of lavender oils (always keep lavender oil handy for kitchen burns) and discovered how to use essential oils safely. We also learned about how Jane helps cancer patients at University College Hospital where aromatherapy is something that helps relaxation and relieves some of the cruel side effects of cancer treatment.
For those of you who want to buy some oils Jane recommends Neal’s Yard and her own favourite Oshadi.
Essential oils are extracted from plants and spices.
Thursday also saw the circulation of a host of sign-up sheets for the summers big fund-raising events. The first is this coming Saturday when we are running a cake stall at A Royal Knees-up party in Rosemary Gardens to celebrate the Queen‘s birthday. There will be an afternoon of fun for families including a dog show. We are still looking for cakes so email if you can bake, the WI will refund costs.
The knees-up is followed by another cake stall at Party in the Park on 9th July – again we are looking for bakers and helpers on the stall. Lastly (but this is the big one) – we have agreed to co-produce the Flower and Produce show in September alongside the de Beauvoir Gardeners. The show will be a great opportunity to raise our profile in the area as well as fundraise. We are looking for volunteers from members and their families to help make this community day better than ever.
Hello everyone, in advance of next week’s meeting I thought I would post two picture udpates to keep everyone in the loop about what we’ve been up to.
De Beauvoir Bunting
Last Sunday saw a group of us, plus some kind helpers from the community, take over the hall at St. Peter’s Crypt for a marathon bunting making session. We had a massive amount of fabric donated so a big thank you to everyone who gave their unwanted material – we have enough now for many sewing projects to come. Here are a few pics including a very serious one of me taken by Victoria! You will have to wait until Party in the Park to see the bunting in all its glory.
Abney Park Cemetery
Monday night saw a group of us wrapped up warm (well except for me) meeting at the gates of Abney Park Cemetery for a tour of this wonderful and wild corner of Hackney. We spent a really interesting couple of hours exploring the history of Victorian Hackney through the story of the cemetery and the people buried there. It was fascinating, beautiful and just a little bit spooky. A huge thank you to Justina for organising the event. Please visit, support this haven for wildlife, take part in a course, a tour or one of their upcoming events – full details on their website.
See you all next week to learn about aromatherapy.
Our May meeting was our annual AGM and we were celebrating our 2nd birthday. For those of you who couldn’t make it Amanda was unanimously re-elected as our President and the new committee who will support her consists of Julie (treasurer), Angela (secretary), Jacqui, Victoria, Sara and new members Debbie, Lesley and Naomi. Having just stepped down from the main committee myself along with Lisa, Jacquie and Pamela, I appreciate just how much these wonderful girls do to make it all happen – thank you.
There were a few reports on the year which included news of a very healthy bank balance and a list of some of the marvellous things we got up to in our second year. Great speakers, interesting trips, fund raising stalls, knitting, sewing, jam making and most of all lots of new friendships which are at the heart of everything we do. The year ahead is packed with even more than last year so roll up your sleeves girls and get stuck in – the more you do the more fun you have!
We did a lot of business on the night but we’d also been given some lovely colouring books by Pheonix Yard Books and so we coloured pictures as we listened to Sara explain this year’s resolutions. The resolution discussion was always going to be heated and while we all supported a campaign against food waste and agreed dementia needed more resources we also felt that the wording of both resolutions was just not thought through.
Remember to support our sewing session making bunting on Sunday 22nd May – bring fabric, friends and neighbours (full details here).
The WI is ran their first session of the community cafe today and from all accounts it was a great success. Our members have been incredibly generous with their time for this worthwhile community event and they appear in most weeks in the rota.
See you soon, Avril x
Unique, funny and charming are all words that describe the Irish-born local poet and novelist Martina Evans who read from her collected works at April’s meeting. Ahead of the launch of her new collection, Burnfort, Las Vegas, Martina treated us to excerpts of prose and poems both old and brand new. Originally from County Cork Martina kept us enthralled by drawing us into her personal and imaginative world. She was initially shy about reading to us, but as we hung on her every word and we were spellbound by poems such as Frank O’Hara and Oysters her confidence grew. Mixing up the ordinary with the extraordinary (Donny the cat featured heavily as did references to local London history and Shakespeare) she told us how she learnt her craft and now teaches at Birkbeck College.
As a child she always had her head in a book and told us that she started out on her creative writing career (first novels and then her true love poetry) because she, “loves telling stories and I love fairy tales too.” She finished the evening with a Q&A and we learnt that… She writes best… “Early in the morning, the earlier the better”. Nothing is wasted. She’s a natural poet because… “I like intensity. When I started writing I had done the Artist’s Way (a guide to unblocking your creativity) and it changed my life. It was absolutely transformational.” The saying may be that everyone has a novel in them… “But, I think that everyone has poetry in them.” Her next book is… “All about teenagers.”
Marina has kindly sent some links to some of her work and readings:
Here is the link to new prose poem Now We Can Talk Openly About Men on RTE RADIO which was published in The Stinging Fly magazine, it starts after a couple of minutes:
I also promised to send this essay I wrote for the Royal Literary Fund.
And an essay on the prose poem.
And the wonderful Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize-winner talking on memory and experience and happiness: