Welcome to 2014!  Hopefully any resolutions are still unbroken and despite the cold weather, the outlook is bright!

We had our first meeting of 2014 last night.  We welcomed Colne Soapmakers, Christian and Ann.  Who, not only gave and interesting and informative talk on their particular journey into soap making but, also joined in with our rendition of Jerusalem!  Great sports for that, as group sign song breaks down any barriers of reserve and nerves.  We do struggle with the low notes and I always feel that we deserve an applause at the end!

We were chatting at tea, about different family traditions that we do during the festive season.  My long standing family tradition is on New Years Eve.  As children, we placed our slippers outside our bedroom doors when we went to bed.  In the morning, inside the slippers would be a coin (to make sure one always had money); chocolate (to make sure one always had food) and a bar of soap (to make sure one was always clean).  We did this each year and this is a tradition that has carried on with my own children (although my youngest wants to put his slippers outside his room every night - probably for the chocolate rather than the soap!)  I have no idea where the origins of this New Year ritual hail from but I would love to find out.  Any insight would be happily received.  Similarly, if you would like to share your family traditions with us, we would love to hear them!

We had two new arrivals this week!  One of our ladies gave birth to twins - a boy and a girl (which makes it easy for the rest of us).  We have yet to sign them up to WI but very much look forward to meeting the new parents and bundles of joy.  A great start to 2014!

Copford WI has only one New Years Resolution for 2014 - to keep making friends!

I've just uploaded some pictures of Pits Wood to our gallery.  Sorry about some of them not being the correct orientation.  It's late and I just can't think now :o(
I met Angela and Sarah about 10am in the car park and we took our goodies into the woods and followed the sound of vigorous activity.   Met Mike, Mervyn, Alan, Chris, Jenny G and some others of the Pits Wood group and pitched up our refreshments table.  Lots of really hard work was going on with some fairly impressive pieces of equipment!  It's amazing how much growth has happened since last year.  The area where the Brownies planted lots of new trees last year had really thick ground cover that made it nearly impossible to see the young new trees.  When we were working in that area last year, we found a tiny common newt. 

Sarah has a new roll-up table which worked brilliantly and we also made use of a slightly sloping bench (made pouring the tea interesting!).  Don't know what it is about cooking bacon and egg sarnies in the great outdoors, but they always seem extra tasty!  Angela and I took along some scrumptious homemade fairy cakes and (local) Apple and Blackberry cake - one of Jo Wheatley's.  I heard Sarah asking Angela for pointers as hers didn't turn out so well - her fruit sank!

On 2nd November we were back in to woods encouraging those dedicated locals who turn our month after month to help keep on top of the ever changing demands of this beautiful space.  Extra elbow grease and dogged determination was required this month following the ill wind of St Jude!  We were requested not to distract the volunteer workforce too much with a banquet of bacon sarnies and fried egg rolls.  We therefore obliged with a selection of hot beverages, cake and biscuits.  Between you and me, I don't think the down time was any shorter!  Next month (being the Christmas month) we plan to bring mulled wine, mince pies and of course a well deserved cake or two!
Lisa adding a touch of glamour with her animal print welly warmers!
This week was the AGM for Copford Village Hall Committee.  As regular users of the hall we went along to show support, strengthen community links and generally have a natter!  The CVH run a 100 club and are looking for more members  so, we said that we would pop a note on our site.  Its a kind of lottery where you pay £18p/a and receive one number - yours for life if you wish!  A monthly draw takes place and if yours happens to be one of the winning numbers, a cash prize will come your way.  Easy!  If anybody would like more information on this or to join, we will happily pass your details onto the relevant person.  Just to note, this is no benefit (financial or otherwise) to Copford WI or The Womens Institute.  Nor is it run or endorsed by Copford WI or The Womens Institute.  The Copford Village Hall is entirely a separate entity. 

I popped over to Whitelands yesterday to pick up our post.  Had a quick chat with Sheena and Tony in the office then popped my head round the door of the shop - I knew it was a mistake!  Along with some beautiful cards and WI adorned items, there are some lovely stocking filler pressies AND various Christmas Craft Kits put together by the clever ladies of G&G Crafts.  So, a short while later, I leave Whitelands with the post and a couple of Christmas Craft Kits.  Guess what my lot are getting this year!
After a busy week at work, last nights' meeting was a very welcome relief!  Sarah Wright of Open Road gave an excellent presentation about all the good work they do.  Really comforting to know that there is a group of dedicated volunteers looking out for those that are perhaps a little worse for wear at the weekend.  Sarah's audience had a couple of surprises by way of her mother and friend.  Not too much heckling.  Jim Welton, local coordinator for Royal British Legion, popped in for a cuppa and to ask the ladies for any help they could give towards this years' Poppy Appeal table at Sainsburys, during half term week - or, was it just for some really delicious cake (fruity scones, bread pudding, ginger cake - all home made and Thorntons Millionaire Shortbread, so horrible I had to have three pieces!

The first 'Glitterfest' is on the horizon and the excitement is already climbing.  We've still got Halloween to go first but we're trying to decide on colour scheme for our Christmas trees - such a dilemma!

It has to be said that it seems a long time between meetings but its always really good to see everybody and catch up.  New friends, old friends but all good friends.  
Welcome to the Copford WI website and Jenny's Blog.  As you can see, we are currently building our site so don't be surprised if you see things missing or changing.  We will get there in the end and, hope to have a good place for you to dip into and find out about us, the WI and our capers. 

We welcome your views, comments and suggestions and look forward to sharing our news and hearing from you.  Better still, come along to one of your meetings!

Talk soon.