Monday, 20 August 2012

Of Song and Cakes and Local History

Our Women's Institute meeting in August was at the Grand Hotel.   We were sent on a sort of treasure hunt for information to answer a series of quiz questions, which was good exercise if you wore the right shoes for it, which I did not.  Vivien, Lucy and I formed a team.  The quiz focussed on the Olympics and on the history of Tynemouth.  I knew barely anything about the former and less than I thought I did about the latter.  We did not finish in the medals.

I've written about the Grand before, however I hadn't realised before that it belongs to the Duke of Northumberland.  One lives and learns. 

Awarding of the medals.

We met in a room I'd not seen before, though sadly my photos didn't turn out very well.  Grand is the right name for this room, with the huge wardrobes and elegant window dressings. 

The podium, of sorts.

I've not yet forgiven the appalling service the sewing ladies got one Christmas season, but it's still a beautiful building.

I'm going to own this in my next life.

I was away when this WI had their summer fete, but Vivien and Lucy worked the table selling books.  The last meeting I made was the day we returned from visiting Sarah in Edinburgh and so I didn't have time to enter the 'Victoria Sponge' baking contest.  (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.)

I'd never heard of this type of cake before, so I was glad to have an excuse not to bake one...or several, as Lucy did trial runs.  I thought hers was as lovely as any other.  One woman brought the wreckage of her cake, still on the cooling rack.  When asked about this, she said it was evidence of an effort made, but unfortunately she'd had to run to the store to buy jam filling and while she was out, her dog decided to sample the cake. 

The cupcakes were judged by a former home economics teacher from Ashington as being the best, based on appearance and presentation.  She didn't taste them as she was on a diet!  I thought that was hilarious. 

The winner(s).

I also missed out on the meeting where they had singing lessons and were recorded singing the traditional opening song, Jerusalem.  Fortunately we still haven't adopted that custom, as I still don't know the words...I suspect most of this lot don't. 

Our next meeting is about jam making.  Not sure if that means I should be making some, or if I'm just going to learn how...I'll let you know how that goes.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely setting for a meeting! And LOL about the cake mishap...sounded like something that would happen to me. : )

Susan Partlan said...

If you were attracting new members to your Women's Institute group, how would you describe it? I ask because I belong to a women's group through my church which had a mission once, way back in the 1950s, but now is pretty much a social group.

Beryl said...

It all sounds like fun. Anything in Oklahoma like the WI? If so, I should start looking for it. I would love a group of women to make jam with.

LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

hehe too funny about the cake wreckage....

I love the melody to Jerusalem, the version performed at the Royal Wedding was just lovely.

Anonymous said...

I'm imagining that the cake tastes like angel food. Am I on the right track?

Carolyn said...

The story about the disastrous cake made me smile... aah we all have those days!

Shelley said...

Bliss - Yes, it is gorgeous. We generally meet in the parish hall, but it must have been booked.

Susan - You can look at the Women's Institute website or on the Wikipedia entry to see its history and own description. Ours is a bit different, being a 'young' (aimed at slightly younger women and a new group) WI. Our president is a beautiful young woman with an advertising business so she brings a different flare. We've done knitting lessons and wine tasting, this cake baking but also belly dancing and zumba. She invites local businesses to make a pitch to us and so our 'speakers' are different to the usual WI, though many of them are brilliant. We aren't the usual rural WI, but we have a lot of fun. I would love one day to go to Denman College (its not an academic institution, mind!)

Shelley said...

Beryl - I'm not aware of anything like this in Oklahoma; it's a very British thing. Look on the Women's Institute website / wikipedia and you'll have more ideas about this. Why not start your own? There are WI chapters in countries other than Britain, but they tend to be Commonwealth countries, I think. Still... OKWI sounds good to me!

LR - I agree, the tune is lovely. I would learn the words if we did sing it, but I don't think my voice would be a welcome addition.

Terri - I'm guessing it might be somewhere between angel food and a pound cake. There are recipes on the internet - I had intended to have a go using duck eggs! I read that was the 'secret' to extra light cake.

Carolyn - Yes, we all had a good laugh at that story. It was brilliant of her to bring that sad wreck in so we could share in the misery...