Constantine Cornwall

WI Summer 2020

Well what a Summer! Hopefully you are all getting accustomed to the ever changing guidelines regarding lockdown, the gradual easing of lockdown, when and where to wear masks and what we all can and cannot do.

Sadly many of the WI activities have been, shall we say, ’postponed’ rather than cancelled. The WI have been active in a number of areas though.

Some members have been sending letters to care home residents, almost like one way penpal letters. This activity has continued throughout lockdown and feedback received suggests the letters have been warmly received in these unsettling times.

Members have been staying in touch via chain emails, sharing funny stories, very crea- tive poems and stories about where they’ve managed to visit and other activities. Like a lot of the country many have been using the down time to do a lot of walking and gardening.

One of our WI members, Shelly, runs a local flower farm Jam Pot Flower Co and has very kindly been delivering beautiful arrangements to members picked from a hat. They have been very much appreciated.

The expected easing of restrictions prompted members to plan this year’s Summer Lunch and many members were looking forward to visiting Trenarth Manor. Sadly at the the eleventh hour, a halt was put on the lockdown easing and this was another event postponed for the time being.

Guidance received on the use of the WI hall suggest there will be no WI meetings until the New Year unless the guidance changes.

Patricia Wilson

Constantine W.I. looks back during lockdown

Our last meeting before lockdown was on 9th March. Our guest speaker was Lynn Kentish and she showed us how to make a willow heart. It was a good fun evening with something to show for it, at the end.

The W.I. was formed in 1915 to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become involved in producing food during the First World War. Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the W.I is now the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK. The W.I. plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills, to take part in a wide variety of activities and to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities. Constantine W.I. was formed in 1951.

Constantine W.I. puts community at its heart. We run Soup and Pud meals from September to April on the last Monday of the month, which is very well attended by the village. We have a village craft and chat Club every week. Our knitters are in the Primary school teaching the children to knit. There are currently on-line craft and art classes and some of our ladies are making face masks.

Apart from the monthly meetings, when we have a wide range of speakers, from the Dynamics of DNA to gin production (that was a good evening – many samples). We organise monthly walks, lunches in different pubs and cafes, and outings. For example, last year a river Fal trip with pasty supper and The Christmas lights tour with a meal at the Meadery in Penzance. Friends and husbands were invited.

We help at charity and fund raising events collaborating with other organisations in the village, like the Bosahan Woods path project which several members supported with shovels and rakes. Most of all we have really lovely ladies, who soon become friends, who are willing to help and support each other and those in Constantine. During this lockdown, we have kept in touch almost daily sending group emails with jokes, videos, poem, news and messages to those in need of some support. Those not on email, get cards, letters and phone calls. A number of the W.I. ladies have been paired up with people in the care homes in the district, who we write to as a friend. I personally have been allocated two ladies and am on my 10th letters to them.

This is a very difficult time for us all, as almost all our activities have been sus- pended, but being part of the Constantine W.I. has certainly helped us all through and will do, until we see the light at the end of the tunnel and can meet up again.

New members are always welcome. In the past year we have welcomed 10 new members and were growing nicely. Until the lockdown we were looking forward to an exciting year full of events and fun!

Constantine W.I. Annual Meeting

Barbara Willoughby

Considering the very rough weather our Annual Meeting on 10 February was very well attended. Thanks were given to all and our Secretary’s report reminded all members of the very varied meetings throughout the year, with outings, luncheons, walks etc – something to suit all tastes. Gifts and thanks were given to several retiring Committee members and helpers and three new Committee members were welcomed. Our President Liz Pearce was unanimously voted on for her second year.

Our new programme for this year was to be very varied, from making Willow Hearts to Chocolate Making with Cornish Gigs in between, but is now suspended. Business was concluded and was followed by a fun hour with a “Beetle Drive”. All members very competitively throwing the dice to try to be the first to make a “whole beetle”, the winners on each table moving on to start the next “beetle”. A fun and hectic time enjoyed by all.

In the March meeting Lynn Kentish from Lynn’s Willows gave a brief talk and demonstration on willow crafts. It was a fun evening with members enjoying the opportunity to make their own willow hearts. The hearts make lovely gifts or can be used as decorations in the home and garden.

Lynn was thanked for her time and coaching by Dominique.

Sadly because of concerns regarding Covid 19 virus (Coronavirus) it has become necessary to cancel all W.I. meetings and Soup and Pud events until further notice.

Festive Soup and Pud Lunch

We finished 2019 in style with a very Festive Soup and Pud Lunch when the Hall was bursting at the seams. Our Christmas meal was at Polurrian Hotel, a Carol Service at Constantine with our Group W.Is, Mawnan Smith, Budock Vean and friends, was very well attended.

Members and friends also enjoyed a coach outing to see the Christmas Lights around West Cornwall, with Supper at The Meadery, Penzance. Such a festive end to our year. So Happy New Year to you all and Thank You for your support.

Our first meeting on January 13 was very wet and windy outside but “welcoming” inside and Mr John Bastin spoke to us on “Dynamic DNA” – not inspiring you may think but surprisingly, all our members joined in with “question time” and opinions throughout the evening. It was agreed that there were moral and ethical issues raised with the discovery of DNA and so far it has mainly been used to help with medical issues, how cells work, reproduction, prevention of diseases etc. But how far should it be allowed to go – producing perfection in everything, humans, animals, food products etc. There are already cloned animals, and genetically modified food crops, what happens next?? It was a very interesting evening with many questions raised!! Mr Bastin was warmly thanked by Dominique.

Our next meeting on 10 February is our Annual Meeting followed by Tea and Chat. Our Soup and Pud will be on 24 February, something to keep the chill out of Winter months. On 9 March we have Lynn Kentish helping us all make a Willow Heart, a lovely gift for somebody. All our meetings are on the 2nd Monday in the month starting at 7. 15pm and Soup and Puds during Win- ter months are usually the 4th Monday each month, from 12 noon, look out for posters in village to confirm and on W I Hall Notice Board.

We welcome guests and visitors every month and look forward to seeing you.

Gin & Tonic Tasting

What could be better than a Gin & Tonic Tasting evening, especially when produced locally by Curio Spirits Co, Mullion on the Lizard. Director Rubina Tyler-Street and husband William wanted to produce a local gin with “flavours” of Cornwall. Starting in her mother-in-law’s kitchen in Mullion, 10 years ago, foraging in the local countryside and cliffs, experimenting with rock sam- phire, seaweed etc, they eventually produced their first batch of seven bottles ready for consumption. With help from friends with a knowledge of gin, evening tastings, and Craft & Food Markets, they were eventually awarded a Licence although they were turned down at first because they were “too small”.

Expanding very slowly, firstly into a shed in the field, adding a container later for storage, they are
now in a large unit at Porthkerris, still keeping the foraging for botanicals to locations on the Lizard. English wheat grains are used for all their products and while other brand gins are made using “traditional hot” compounding, they use cold compounding, giving contemporary finish and flavours.

Conscious of waste disposal, their attractive bottles are made of recycled glass, obviously recyclable again. The labels are paper based. The only non-recyclable item is the seal which they are working on.

From a very small beginning selling at markets and tastings, they are now in many local shops/supermarkets, John Lewis in London, exporting to Jersey, Hong Kong and Canada, with a view to gain buyers in Americaverysoon. Alsogainingmany food and drink awards starting with BBC Good Food Champions in their first year, continuing to present day with Blueberry Gin winning GBF award this year.

Rubina was thanked and “toasted” very warmly by Dominique and all the “happy” members for a very interesting insight into craft gin!!

Our meeting continued with much giggling and members were thanked for help at the village Community Day, and clearing & painting one of our storage rooms. Several members had also helped in Bosahan Woods improving access, footpaths etc.

Overland to India

HELP, with just a few hours before our meeting the speakers cancelled because of sickness. Luckily one of our members, Dominique Hayes, said she had travelled overland in a truck to India in the 1970s – would that do – yes please!!

Dominique was in her 2nd year of a Law Degree in Belgium at the time and wanted to travel. South America, her preferred destination, was unaffordable but she was shown details of a Trek overland to India. “Perfect”.

So the converted “Green Goddess” arrived. She was expecting a group of 12 but in total there were 24 including 3 drivers/mechanics.We watched a “promotional” film with 60s/70s music and very dated commentary, showing what the “trip” involved, and what they couldsee, weather permitting.

From Belgium they travelled through Europe – Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Istan- bul, finding the people very friendly. In Lahore they had the luxury of staying on houseboats where most people lived and worked afloat, mainly transporting goods. The Corbett National Park in the Himala- yas gave views of alligators, elephants and some game but no tigers. One memorable building was the Red Fort, the presidential residence which was co-designed by Architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens. There were holy cities, temples, trucks,

bikes, horse & carts but hardly any motorcars. No luxuries, but fantastic views, and great experiences, especially the footbridge over a very deep canyon above a torrential fast-running river. The “footbridge” constructed of ropes with only one plank’s width to walk on looked very precarious!! Most days they rose at dawn to continue the trek finding breakfast at roadside “cafes”.

Eleven weeks later, on arrival at Nepal/ Kathmandu they spent 10 more days in the area. Dominique hired a bike and explored Kathmandu Valley, then caught a train to Delhi to fly back to Amsterdam. What an adventure!

The meeting continued and plans were announced for a coach trip in December to see all the Christmas Lights down West with a chance for Fish & Chips in Newlyn.

Our Festive Soup and Pud will be on Monday 25 November and start again in the New Year on Monday 27 January 2020!!

‘Multiple Sclerosis & The Merlin Centre’

Steve Lawrence

Our Speaker Mr. Steve Lawrence, was welcomed on a very warm evening and the insight he gave us into the Condition of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and the Merlin Centre at Hewas Water was “eye opening”.

There are 5,000 people in the UK, each year diagnosed with MS, mainly in women, and the highest number in the country from The Orkney Islands, Cornwall is 2nd with 1,500.

The central nervous system is protected by the Myelin Sheath but for, as yet unknown reasons, this protective sheath is destroyed by inflammation and scarring. Thus leaving nerves throughout the body unprotected, causing a great deal of pain in whichever problem area attacked. Every patient diagnosed will have different symptoms and it can take up to 18 months for MS to be diagnosed because the range of symptoms is so varied it can be mistaken for other illnesses.

After 7 years of fundraising, The Merlin Centre was built in 2009 for Cornwall, be- cause the nearest facility previously was in Exeter and by 2015 there were 70 people a day receiving treatment. This includes many therapies, physio, hydrotherapy, oxygen therapy and even the social contact improves quality of life. There are 3 full time staff and 50 to 60 volunteers. There are Outreach Centres in Hayle and Bodmin. Patients can be seen by Self Re- ferral, respite can be given at the Centre for up to 3 days a week.

There are many fundraising & social events around Cornwall, Art Auctions, Christmas Fairs etc. The Centre is not funded by the NHS. The Centre was very lucky to receive £1 million pounds from a local Lottery Winner recently which helped build the Hydrotherapy Pool. One of our members , Mrs Lucie Nottingham, will be opening her garden at Trenarth, Constantine in September for Multiple Sclerosis. All are welcome.

July boat trip to Malpas

Members had a very enjoyable Birthday River Boat Trip along the Fal on 1st July, a dry, clear evening, finishing at Malpas, a surprise because of a good high tide. Some of our new members put together our entry for The Stithians Show on 15 July. There was no meeting in August but members were invited to “bring a plate” to share at the home of our new President Mrs Liz Pearce.

The WI will be at the Transition Community Day on 14 September with many items of interest showing our many and varied trips and plans. Please feel free to come and talk.

Our meeting in September will be speakers from The Cornish Food Box, and in October Rubina Tyler-Street will talk about Cornish Gins and Spirits. Food and Drink – who could resist!! Both meetings on the second Monday, starting at 7.15pm.

‘Fire & Alchemy’

A Love Affair with Clay with Mel Chambers.

Based in Mawnan Smith, Mel has had over 40 years of a meandering journey knowing she “wanted to be an Artist”. Beginning, of course with training to be a Fitness Instructor! She then went through Permaculture, Art courses, animal portraits, working in clay and all the time learning techniques, working ethics bringing value and meaning to her finished articles. This included Raku Firing which is an ancient Japanese technique giving the finished clay glaze a crazed finish and every piece is different. Every piece from clay tiles, figurines, pots etc are worked individually by hand and fingers are crossed at every firing with no expectation of a perfect finish, meaning every piece of work is “unique”. The firing process takes between 18-20 hours and the articles are then left in the kiln for 2 days to cool. Depending on the “weather” during kiln firing and using anything from sawdust, horsehair, feathers and even llama fur – All this makes each piece unique.

Every article made in this way will keep its colour throughout its lifetime and will not wear away. Mel explained the original flooring In Exeter Cathedral still has its vibrant colouring having been made using this technique and because of this process Space Shuttles have been lined with these tiles to deflect the heat! Mel finished by demonstrating carving a beautiful tile ready for slip work and firing, in less than 10 minutes!! Members had many questions, admiring her work and thanks were given by Gill Just for a very entertaining talk.

Christmas Cookery before and After – Mary and Sylvia

Your least used kitchen gadget.

Harvest Auction with Buffet Supper

Bring items for auction and plate of food for Supper.

No Competition.

Rescued from the Sea – Andrew Besley

Something from the beach

66th Birthday Outing

Surprising story of the handbag – Rachel Mills

A hand bag

Mature Fitness – Tracey Eustice

A healthy flower arrangement, using some fruit or vegetables.

Shopping through the ages – Lesley Robinson

An old container

Funny Job for a Woman – Penny Praille

It Easter Week so decorate an Easter Egg, Chocolate or otherwise.

Digging up the family tree – Peter King

Competition: A family heirloom or photo.


Continuing India—Gill Just

Competition: How many words can you make out of Inspiring Women

My Fish Kitchen – Annie Sibbert

Competition: A Funny Wine Stopper

Christmas Dinner

Venue to be decided

Bring Christmas Gifts

Valuation Evening – David Lay

Bring items for valuation.

Competition: David to chose his favourite from above items.

Beauty & Hot Stones


Competition : An unusual stone can be decorated.
Please bring items for auction.

St Hilary Church & Heritage Centre

Meet Car Park at 5.45pm

Summer Luncheon at Gweal Mellin

by kind invitation of Angela and Richard

Please bring a plate of food.

Pearls in Jewellery – Judith Peters

Competition: A pearl item

Birthday Celebrations

Poldowrian & Roskilly