Blooming good

The Gardening Group spent an extremely colourful morning admiring the wonderful selection of Dahlias at Gilbert’s Nursery near Romsey.
On arrival in true WI fashion an inspection of their tea rooms was required and we all enjoyed coffee and cake .
Surprisingly the noise level was at such a decibel that other visitors chose to sit outside , well away from us !
Dahlias have come on a long way and the variety of colours , sizes and types of petals was breath-taking.
The new seedlings they are developing are less structured and probably you wouldn’t recognise immediately as a dahlia .
A very  lovely mornings outing if you haven’t been.
All the tubers can be ordered in January for general sale in February .
Thank you to Jacqui Bird, our group leader for organising such a successful trip.

Tuesday 12th September 2023

Tuesday 12th is the first meeting after the summer break and it seems a long time since we’ve all been together.  During August there have been various BEWI get togethers, one a lovely sunny (yes the sun did shine on a few days in August) walk in Milford on Sea and the Gardening Club eventually had a great time exploring Jacqueline’s garden (the date had to change because of a heavy downpour).  But generally August is quiet for WI which is why we look forward to getting together again in the Autumn.  The September speaker is Steve Herra who was the Purser on QE2 and whose family has worked for Cunard for 3 generations.  He has some stories to tell!  With many of us having taken a cruise recently or planning one for the future, I’m sure we are in for an fascinating evening.

If you are interested in finding out more about the WI, we welcome visitors, just let us know you would like to come along by sending a message on our Join Us tab.


Virtual WI

No time to go along to meetings at the WI?  You may be interested in this.  In 2021 WI launched the first ever virtual WI.  Two years on, there are now 15 virtual WIs! These WIs all came together recently for a virtual WI summer festival. There were all kinds of online activities such as recycled crafts, chair yoga, and even a murder mystery. Members joined from all over, tuning in from Canada, America and as far as Australia. Virtual WIs are a great way for women to join the WI movement from wherever they may be at any point in time. Want to find out more: Virtual WIs | National Federation of Women’s Institutes (

WI Resolution – Clean Rivers for People and Wildlife

Make a splash for clean rivers in your community by taking part in the WI’s Week of River Action from 11-18 September!  Join in with WIs and other local organisations in your area campaigning for clean rivers to sound the alarm about the ecological states of the UK’s rivers, and draw attention to the importance of clean rivers for people and wildlife by organising a campaign stunt in local communities across England, Wales and the Islands.

Invite your local MP to the upcoming parliamentary drop in event to launch the WI Week of River action on 12 September. The event will launch our new Clean Rivers campaign to MPs and will be a vital chance to make sure decision-makers know how strongly WI members and supporters feel about cleaning up our rivers. 

A picture speaks

a thousand words and the smiles on our members’ faces say it all.

Thank you to Glynis for capturing the moment.

Interested in joining the WI, click on the Join Us tab.


Our Lady’s Milk

Liebfraumilch is a timeless German classic wine and was amongst the best and most expensive wines money could buy.  The BEWI club members probably all remember drinking a glass or two in the 20th century however, it did fall out of favour.  It was a surprise, therefore, that it was the favourite wine tasted at the July meeting. It is a medium sweet and fruity white wine with refreshing stone fruit flavours. Best served chilled with fruity desserts, especially strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Our thanks again to Celia for putting together a perfect combination.

Budding Ballerinas

Bransgore Evening WI were delighted to invite Stephanie Constantine-Smith of Silver Swans to our July meeting. She wrote “I wanted to express my sincere thanks to you all, for inviting me to your group to run a Silver Swans ballet session recently. I had a super evening. I was very impressed with the quality of dancing on show from everyone – there are certainly some budding ballerinas in amongst you!  I hope everyone who participated enjoyed it, and it was fabulous to see the two ladies who were seated at the front, joining in.”

Silver Swans is an initiative by the Royal Academy of Dance, to include the over 55’s in ballet. Whether you are an experienced dancer, have briefly dabbled, or a complete novice, all are welcome. Queen Camilla is a Silver Swan and Angela Rippon is the Ambassador of Silver Swans.  I know many of us enjoyed this evening’s  experience and hope the possibility of a class in  Bransgore is achieved.

Note from website editor: BEWI members have you seen the video clip? Great fun!

Camera Club Workshop

It was a gloriously sunny day at Blackwater car park, just off Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.  Christine, Pat , Wendy and Sandie met with Keith Thompson to take part in an onsite Flowing Water workshop. Wearing wellies, (to get in the water if needed) they set off to find some flowing water – rather difficult with the dry weather experienced during the June, however, luck was on their side and  some moving water was found.

Keith explained how to set up the cameras on tripods followed by individual coaching to programme each cameras. What was needed was a small aperture of F25, a slow shutter speed 1/6 of a second and an ISO of 100.

After taking photographs, the group went to the Rhinefield Hotel to photograph their fountains. Once again Keith helped with setting up tripods and cameras.  After all the hard work in the heat, a cuppa and cold drinks were well deserved. Unfortunately, Keith had to leave but not before the group presented him with a small gift as a thank you for giving up his valuable time to give the workshop.

report by Sandie


With 19,000 miles of coast to monitor and operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the RNLI’s statistics are impressive.  23,204 people were aided by lifeguards in 2022 alone with the RNLI saving 142,700 lives since 1824.  Needless to say BEWI were thrilled to meet Robin, Nick and Dom at the monthly meeting.  They assured us that they would not be called out on a shout nor was the Mudeford Lifeboat Station short of staff because they were speaking to us.   We were impressed by our visitors, all volunteers with very specific roles and there to keep us safe.  Nick is shore crew and drives the tractor down the slipway with the lifeboat attached.  Sounds easy until you realise the boat is only inches narrower than the slipway and the tractor drives not only down but into the sea and along the bottom (it’s tidal and we’ve all seen the mud when the sea is at low tide).  Dom is boat crew, countless tasks to complete before the launch including an incredibly quick change into uniform, yellow boots included.  Robin is a Visitor Guide at Mudeford, a man who can tell you all about the RNLI and promote this wonderful organisation. 

They are a team and it shows.

Their lifesaving work is essential, often difficult and sometimes dangerous.  BEWI thanked our brave speakers and a donation was given to the charity.



Magical garden

It was a joy to explore Irene’s magical garden this morning.  The weekend’s rain enhanced the green shrubs to a luscious colour with pops of brilliant blooms catching the eye as we wandered around.  Not only did the garden look pretty, as we approached the rose bed a delicious scent flooded the air.  Irene obviously adores gardening and her hard work pays dividends.  Thank goodness there were some weeds (popular items these days) or most of us would have felt a garden like Irene’s would be unachievable.  As always, members were happy to share their tips, experience and expertise.  A happy day, we were all inspired.