Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Dozen Ways to Kill an Institute

The first night Vivien came to the WI with me, she won a jar of jam in the raffle.  A few months later at the Christmas party, she won dinner for two (with wine) at a posh restaurant.  She won a bottle of champers at the next Christmas party.  More recently, she won first place in the bake off for her Victoria Sponge cake.  Lucy won second prize.  I felt myself in wonderful company; shame I'm not a bigger cake fan, but there you are.  Vivien's prize for the cake was another bottle of champagne.  She insisted we get together and share it.

The 'Champagne Sub-group', as Julia has dubbed us, met the other night and discussed this and that (mostly all things crafty) over snacks and champagne.  It was great fun.  Bill took Lucy, Julia and I to Vivien's house.  Vivien's husband, Steve, brought us home.  

I was saying that I'd not got much further with this book, but the inside cover had a list of 'sins' and I could already claim a few.  I said I'd share the list, so this is it.  I suspect these concepts could be applied to many groups or gatherings.

1.  Don't come to the meetings, but if you do, come late, and if the weather doesn't suit you, don't think of coming.

2.  If you do attend the meetings, find fault with the work of the officers and other members.

3.  Never accept office, as it is easier to grouse than to do things.

4.  Nevertheless, get cross if you are not elected to the Committee: but if you are, do not attend the Committee meetings.

5. If asked by the President to give your opinion on some important matter, tell her you have nothing to say.

6.  After the meeting, tell everyone how things ought to be done.

7.  Do nothing more than is absolutely necessary, but when other members willingly use their ability to help things along, say that the Institute is run by a clique.

8.  Sit at the back and chat throughout the business, then ask to have various items repeated.

9.  Don't bother about getting new members - let the secretary do that.

10.  When you have anything to say, address your remarks to your neighbour instead of the chair.

11.  Chain smoke and bring your knitting.

12.  If you fail to carry out your obligations, blame the Committee and say the Institute is no good.

Adapted from a similar feature in "The Ulster Countryman"


Sandra said...

I loved this and am stealing it for my "club"...I am completing my second (and last year) as program chair. By the way, a good friend is in the American Baking Competion (stolen from the BBC I believe). Tonight is the second week and of course, she is sworn to I have no idea if she wins, but it is fun to know someone who bakes well enough to be on television!

Anonymous said...

I came across a mention of the Women's Institute on another blog this evening for a location where the wait list to join is quite long. What is this group exactly?

Shelley said...

Hi Sandra! - I'd no idea you had a blog...or that you were a program chair! I've mixed feelings about the baking thing. I'm not a fan of sweet foods as a rule and I don't want to increase my skills in making something that I'm not going to eat (Bill is a different story). If it was about baking breads or quiches, I'd be more interested. By all means, use these ideas. I don't guess chain smoking in public places is a big problem anymore.

Terry - I'd no idea that WI's had waiting lists! It must be a really posh group! I'm sure we'd love to be in a similar position! The WI began in Britain in 1915, but the initial idea came from a Canadian woman who started their WI in 1897. Her aim was to disseminate new findings about hygiene and nutrition to working class, rural women in an effort to improve the health of children and families. In Britain it was about increasing food production while the men were away fighting WWI. Our particular group seems to be more about consumerism and pleasing the senses, but it's a laugh and an excuse to meet up with friends. Those of us who want to improve our domestic skills form sub-groups (or champagne sub-groups, etc). You can read about the WI at's_Institutes


I'll let you know if we ever do a 'calendar'!