Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Jam & Jersusalem and Beers & Burlesque aka Why I WI

Giving my widest WI smile to commuters on United Nations International Day of Happiness

Hey all,

It's been a while *face of putting it mildly*.  I have missed you and this blog but I'm back behind the keys and the sewing  machine.  I'm not sure whether it's the realisation it's been a year since I waddled into my first day in a new job (was only meant to be 2 weeks has been a year) because I'd run the Virgin London marathon.  Maybe it was the inspiring talk we had from Bikeit Ben from Sustran at my WI meeting a couple of weeks ago or maybe because I wrote "start blogging again" in my passion planner (my attempt to bring organisation into the House of Demeanour) or a possibly a mix of all three. I summise a mixture of all of the above coupled with seeing "write a post" languishing week after week on my ever increasing to do list has galvanised me into action.  It's funny isn't it that when life gets a little unwieldy the casualties are often the things we love doing. 

Wise words as always from Maya. I've got this stuck on my laptop to remind me how much I love writing.
The other nuts thing is that I've written hundreds of posts in my head in the last few months but they've just not managed to make it on screen.  That said I think a good few of them will over the next few weeks as I get back in the saddle so to speak.  For now though it's best to stick with the topic in hand, which is the WI.

It's my calling card!

As those who follow me throughout the social media sphere  and who know me in real life know I'm a member of my local WI, Brighton Belles.  The reason you will have wind of this is because I wax lyrical about it at every given opportunity.  There has been a great many things that have been ace about my 30s so far but joining such a positive, diverse, progressive, kind, community minded and humourous bunch of women is right up there.

A lovely bunch of Brighton Belles
This year the WI celebrates its centenary. There is much cause for celebration because since its beginnings in 1915 as a drive to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War it has been an incredible force for postive change. This alone is a huge part of the reason I'm so proud to say I'm a member.  Here's just a few of the things that this wonderful organisation has made happen:
  • Policewomen - In 1922 the WI passed a resolution to campaign for the reinstatement of women police officers following their disbanding after the war. They lobbied the goverment heavily and gained the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury. This led to the recruitment of greater numbers of women in the police during WWII and by 1944 over 335 policewomen were employed across Britain.  Women now make up over 25% of the total police force.
  • Equal Pay - The WI passed a resolution calling for 'equal pay for equal work’ in 1943 and campaigned tirelessly for this until 1970 when the Equal Pay Bill was passed.  From 1970 onwards it was illegal to pay men more than women for work of equal value.
  • Environment - In 1954 at the annual conference members were appalled by the state of rubbish and litter across the country and passed a resolution, which went on to form 'The Keep Britain Tidy' group.  This directly led to the passing of the 1958 Litter Act.
  • Family planning - 1974 saw the WI's lobbying of government and mobilising of its county federations lead to family planning services being offered as a normal part of the free NHS.  They continued to lobby for contraception to be made available to all no matter what their age or marital status.
These are just a few of thing things that the WI has made happen in its last 100 years.  Making life better for both women and  society as a whole.  How could I not want to be a part of such a fantastic organisation?  I don't really need other reasons but here are a few anyway:

The WI taught me you can use icecream to make cocktails.
They gave me the chance to make people dance whilst raising money for a great cause.
I get the chance to do ace things like help at a marathon whilst wearing a comedy moustache.
I've gained new interests.  I was told at school that I wasn't arty but the chance to try out a life drawing class with the WI suggested otherswise. I'm no Picasso but I really enjoyed it.
I get to indulge my love of making and eating cake at brilliant events like Pride.

I think what I love most about the WI though is the fact that I get to make friends with really amazing women who believe change is possible.
So there you have it folks in a nutshell that's why I WI.  If you're local to Brighton we meet the second Monday of every month at Donatello's in the Laines from 7pm - 9pm.  We are always looking out for new members and I can say whole heartedly we are all good eggs. Our next meeting is Monday 11th and we'll be raw chocolate tasting.  You'd be crazy not to!
If you're further a field but my ramblings have pricked your interest here is a link to find your nearest WI. I promise you won't regret it.
Well I think that's quite enough from me.  I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favourites, Margaret Mead.  She sums it up well.
Yours fabulously,
Miss D xxx



  1. I've never heard of WI but it sounds like a great organization! Lovely to see your face round these here parts! :D

  2. Ditto, I wonder if there is a US analogue. We need one! Brava to all of the women who have done good work in the WI.

  3. Yay you're back! I love how involved you are with WI. I wish I had enough time to join one but with other evening commitments and sewing time, it's still at the bottom of the list for me. I'll just live vicariously through you :-)