Last weekend, 10 SHWI members went to the 'New Wave weekend' at the WI’s own Denman College. Some of us had been before, a couple of years ago, but for others, it was our first time to Denman, and we didn’t quite know what to expect. What we found was a glorious Grade II listed Georgian house, filled with around 70 women from other WIs, and the most accommodating and friendly staff (except for one slightly disrespectful barman, but he was more than made up for by the lovely Matt!).
|Joanne, Lauren and Lucy outside Denman|
Once we’d settled into our comfortable rooms, Friday evening started with a welcome talk and cocktails. The slight tardiness of the cocktails (don’t keep a roomful of thirsty women waiting for free drinks!) was thankfully no indication of the organisation of the rest of the weekend, as everything ran like clockwork. Dinner followed, and although not Yorkshire portions, was delicious. After a cookery demonstration by Peter Lien, Head of the WI Cookery School, the evening drinking could begin in earnest…
hearty breakfast on Saturday morning, we separated to go to our workshops. We each got to choose three activities from a
range including making textile decorations, biscuiteering, Bollywood dancing,
meringues and vintage corsages. To
ensure our energy levels didn’t drop during the day, there were plenty of
coffee breaks with homemade cakes and shortbread, a lovely salad bar or hot
meal for lunch, and another three course dinner.
|The SHWI gang enjoy the food and wine|
I found all the workshop tutors to be excellent, although they each had their own teaching style. I enjoyed all of the sessions I attended, even if biscuit icing turned out to not be one of my greatest skills! (They still tasted good, though).
|Grace's iced biscuits|
|Laura made this at the papercutting workshop|
Sunday morning gave us time for one more workshop, then, after lunch, with our waistlines and horizons broadened, and new friendships forged, it was time to say farewell.
I feel like I am running out of superlatives, but I really did thoroughly enjoy the weekend, much more than I was expecting to. My main question now is 'can we go again next year?'