BLAKEDOWN WI: The president welcomed members, and visitors Marie, Jane and Wendy.

The president thanked Jan Cook for hosting the strawberry tea in her beautiful garden - it was a huge success in spite of rain and wind! We braved the elements as good Brits always do! The food - sandwiches cakes and scones demonstrated the members’ renowned baking skills! The event raised over £140 for an ACWW project in Zimbabwe.

The chosen national WI Resolution was to urge more action to reduce the ‘plastic soup’ - the plastics and other items which do not naturally degrade and are fouling our oceans and killing ocean wildlife. A report is expected soon.

Cards will be available for sale at the end of the meeting - to raise funds for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Proceeds from the raffle this month is to go to the Alzheimers Society in support of the charity supported by Janice Jones who died last month. A wonderful cause from which - unfortunately - many of us are likely to benefit.

The annual trip to the seaside, to Cardiff is on August 24 (buckets and spades optional)! Other events include a trip to the Chelsea Hospital on September 18 and a WFWI lunch at the Chateau Impney with Gyles Brandreth on 11 September. Get in early if you want to go!!

Speaker, Christine Westwood, demonstrated an unusual art technique, one-stroke painting. Originating in Florida, this is a technique involving what appear to be simple brush strokes blending colours. She demonstrated how to paint various flowers and leaves to great effect. Even those of us who are artistically inept should be able to master this technique!

The cakes made for the Annie Harrison plate competition were judged by Wendy and the prize awarded to Ann Lowe for an unusual tiramisu cake.

Finally a quiz to identify the famous artists of well-known paintings. Luckily for our reputation there were more artistically intelligent amongst us - who got the answers - than there were philistines!!