Our November meeting was a departure from our printed programme as the planned speaker could not attend. We were joined at the beginning of the evening by James Weld who gave an interesting presentation about the Lulworth Estate. We gained an insight into its many activities. Of particular interest was the work of the Lulworth Rangers begun in 1995 and encompassing some 3,000 acres which are under conservation management. In addition to educating up to 20,000 children per year, the Rangers have striven to achieve maximum diversity of flora and fauna on the Estate. A great deal of research findings, as yet unpublished, has been accrued. The Rangers are funded from the revenue generated by the car parks.

A few years ago, we were introduced to the game of Kurling, a form of the original curling game but adapted so that it can be played indoors on any smooth, flat surface, rather than ice. At that time we familiarised ourselves with the rules of the game and its specialist terminology- the hack box, delivery line, near hog line, far hog line and, of course the target.

We reacquainted ourselves with Kurling  at our last meeting. In teams, we took possession of our stones and attempted to push, shove, slide or roll them towards the centre of the target with varying degrees of finesse and accuracy. It was a “friendly “game with relatively little regard for the rules. Our efforts were accompanied by a lot of banter and much hilarity. At the end there was a clear indication that we need practice to refine our skills.


 Our December Meeting on 5th is our Christmas Party which promises to be a jolly good knees-up.

Our Club is lively and flourishing. We have had interest from local ladies about becoming members. In response, we are planning an Open Meeting on Wednesday 2nd January starting at 7.30 to introduce our Club and its activities. We would like to warmly invite everyone to come along, share some light warming refreshments and get to know us better. Please bring friends. Come along and enjoy yourselves.

Halina Simpson





“My LIfe as a War Baby” was the subject of our talk at our October meeting. John Stockley aka the “Electric Sweep Ltd. Brush and Vacuum” was our speaker. Many in our local community will know John as “Sooty”. Those of you who haven’t met him will soon learn the significance of his nickname.

First, a bit of history…….about 100,000 black GIs were stationed in the UK during World War 2, one of their bases was Weymouth. John spoke with enormous affection about his mother, running a successful Guest House, married to Bill in 1941 and living in Weymouth. She used to tell John many stories about The War and the GI parties, including her love for the Jitterbug. Dancing it with her in his early childhood is a fond memory. However, another significant result of her wartime experience with the GIs made his appearance on 7th May 1945, rather dramatically, in a cupboard at Weymouth College (there was an air raid at the time). Enter John.

Her husband Bill came home from the war in 1946. Bill decided to stay with his wife but there was an uneasy relationship between him and John. Sadly, Bill showed considerable intolerance to his stepson. John was only allowed to live in the family home from Monday to Friday during school terms. He was never permitted to enter the house by the front door. The rest of the time, he spent with his maternal grandparents.

John attended the local school and remembers the racial abuse he experienced. At the age of seven, he tried to turn his skin pale by drinking milk of magnesia and eating chalk. In a playground incident he was called a “dirty n…..r. His pugnacious reaction was met with chastisement, his mother being told “You have to remember, Mrs Stockley, these people cannot be educated”.

Through it all, he had a very special relationship with his maternal grandparents, and subsequently when he eventually went to live with them, had a childhood which he described as “idyllic” living in Moonfleet. He particularly loved fishing off Chesil Beach (did he mention that Grandad was a poacher….) John turned a slight corner when he moved to Secondary School (class size about 60) and befriended some other “Blackies”. He loved football. He and his mates played very well BUT, once again, prejudice never allowed them to play for the County because of their colour. After leaving school, Sooty dabbled with sweeping chimneys initially. Much of his early life has been to do with things liquid. At the age of 23, he became the youngest publican in Weymouth. He had tales to tell about thousands of partying sailors. After that he became was a seafarer and eventually returned to run his chimney-sweeping business. Sooty has lived a very varied life exciting, rewarding and sometimes dangerous.



Our area encompasses several local clubs and on a quarterly basis we meet for a convivial evening of friendship and also a bit of competition. It’s always a lovely way to catch up with other members. We take it in turns to host the evening. Our most recent meeting was in Fordington on 10th October. Our speaker was local writer Tracy Baines. Her recent book “It’s not about the food” is autobiographical.   She shared her experience of having a child with an eating disorder. It was an emotional story of a family life dramatically changed by a serious illness. We admired her for speaking so openly about it.

Are WI members competitive? Surely not- it’s a sisterhood, isn’t it?  Hmmm.

The competition at our Fordington meeting was entitled 1918- a date that resonates as the end of WW1 and also as the year when women finally got the vote. West Lulworth celebrated the latter with a fantastic collaborative display based on the Suffragette Movement. Jean Manning executed an intricate banner, Elaine Knight made a delectable pot of preserves, Halina Simpson (moi) fashioned a flower arrangement representing the rosettes worn by the protestors, Viv Aird constructed handmade railings (embellished with Beryl’s silver chain- Cartier of course), Yvonne Adams crafted a pencil drawing of the arrest of suffragettes, though the policeman looked suspiciously like Jen Halsall sporting a moustache. The ensemble was arranged and presented by Jenny Halsall and Beryl Ozmond and the rest of the team. The WI Area Rosebowl is a coveted prize. WE WON IT. The trophy is ours for the next quarter. WHOOP WHOOP!  {besps}suffragette|width=380|height=500{/besps}

Our free soup community lunch on 17th October was very successful. We plan to hold community events such as this on a regular basis- everyone welcome.

October has been very busy as some of our members also attended the DFWI AGM at the Lighthouse in Poole. Picture the scene - hundreds of WI ladies crossing the road- (green man, what green man), the double decker buses don’t mess with our handbags…. It was a great day. Our speakers were two totally different but equally inspirational women. Frances Benton, in the morning, spoke about pearls, teardrops of the dragon. The received wisdom has always been that pearls were “seeded” from grit- not true… Those fabulous pearls that enabled Cleopatra to seduce Marc Antony were actually seeded from parasitic worms .A single pearl was sold recently at auction for £600,000.  But before you put your snorkels on, you have to know that your chance of finding such a jewel is one in two million. And then along came Mikimoto who created the first cultured pearl in the late 19th century- the rest is history….

In the afternoon, we were entertained by Nancy Birtwhistle, winner of the “Great British Bake Off” who told us tales of what happens behind the scenes.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday  7th November, when we will have an evening of Kurling in the village hall.

Halina Simpson




West Lulworth WI meeting September 2018

Dena Selby, our vice president, welcomed members and three visitors to our September meeting.

Our talk and presentation by James Feaver, entitled ‘Foraging for Food – Food for Free’, was fascinating. James runs full day foraging courses which include a foraging walk, followed by preparation and eating of food based on your finds. He is particularly fond of wild garlic (ramsons) and showed tempting examples of omelette, bread and a pasta-based dish. Dandelion flowers layered with sugar turn into delicate-tasting syrup, delicious with elderflower champagne. Of course, there are rules to be followed, such as getting the land owner’s permission, not collecting rare species and washing everything well.

Few people realise that truffles can be found in parts of Britain, but he has recently set up ‘The English Truffle Company’. You can join him on a two hour truffle hunt with dogs.

During our business we were reminded of the Federation’s Annual Meeting at The Lighthouse in Poole on October 18th where one of the speakers will be a recent ‘Bake Off’ finalist.

Our next free lunch with soup and roll is on October 17th at 12 noon. Everyone is welcome.

The speaker at our October meeting is Mr John Stockley with a talk entitled ‘My Life as a War Baby’. Many of you will remember him as our friendly chimney sweep.



WI Report July 2018

Our July meeting was held at Newlands Farm on the 4th July. To mark Independence Day our summer party was a barbeque with an American theme.  There was a wide range of decorated hats which looked very festive.  We were delighted that one of our ex WI members, Patricia, was visiting from the US and was able to join the party.


The food was barbecued to perfection by Paul Simpson and Frank Gibbs - a good time was had by all.